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Lloyds wins bonus showdown

LLOYDS Banking Group managed to get approval for controversial plans to award executives bonuses yesterday, despite expectations of a shareholder rebellion.

Nearly 91.5 per cent of the government-owned bank’s shareholders voted through its remuneration programme. Although chief executive Eric Daniels will waive his £2m bonus, directors Tim Tookey, Helen Weir and Truett Tate will take home more than £1m apiece.

The result brought a sigh of relief from Lloyds’ board. The Association of British Insurers, Britain’s largest shareholder group, had put an “amber top” on the pay package to alert investors to its significance.

In the event, just 8.5 per cent of shareholders voted to block the pay deals at the bank’s annual general meeting in Edinburgh. Daniels’ decision to pass up his award and the resignation of remuneration committee chairman Wolfgang Berndt may have assuaged investors’ anger.

Nonetheless, some individual shareholders made their feelings known. One, David Harrison, said: “The whole system of bonuses is rotten. Can we please cap all those bonuses, and cap the salary rises?”

Group chairman Sir Win Bischoff said the bank would not be able to cap bonuses on its own.

He continued: “The remuneration committee has sought to strike a balance between the fact that the group has been loss-making, and the need to reward key executives to run the business to maximise returns for shareholders.”

Lloyds is 41 per cent taxpayer-owned after the disastrous takeover of HBOS left it staggering in 2008. The bank’s shares closed 5.8 per cent down at 56.64p yesterday.