Intended pay rise for HSBC boss blocked

HSBC chief executive Michael Geoghegan will not see a planned 36 per cent hike in his salary this year after the bank yielded to continued protests by shareholders.

The London-based bank had toldshareholders it intended to raise Geoghegan’s salary to £1.4m, it is understood, at the same time it also proposed to hike finance director Douglas Flint’s pay to £900,000.

HSBC, one of the few banks not to receive a prop up from the tax payer, said that it had been profitable this year and that it was right to go ahead with its pay plans.

But shareholders said the bank’s plans to raise Geoghegan’s pay went against current trends of turning down large pay packages.

A spokesperson from HSBC said: “HSBC has an excellent record of transparency, including being one of very few banks to publish its remuneration report on results day. “We can’t comment ahead of 1 March, however it’s important to note that HSBC has been profitable, generated capital, paid dividends and very much remained open for business throughout the crisis.”

HSBC said an independent remuneration committee is currently meeting to conclude 2009 compensation arrangements and check it is compliant with the Financial Service Authority’s Remuneration Code.

News of Geoghegan’s pay freeze comes just after Lloyds Banking Group chief executive Eric Daniels agreed to waive his £2.3m bonus, making him the fourth bank boss to do so. HSBC is expected to post strong results next week.