CHIEF executives of FTSE 100 companies saw their total pay cut by just 1.5 per cent over the past year to an average &pound;3.3m despite cash bonuses falling by nearly a third, research released today shows.<br /><br />Income Data Services (IDS) found average bonuses for blue chip bosses remained above &pound;500,000 even as corporate profits plunged 20 per cent and a host of companies raised emergency funds to survive the recession.<br /><br />Bonuses averaged &pound;502,000 in the year to 30 June, down 29 per cent on the &pound;702,000 lump sum pocketed the previous year. At the same time salaries rose by an inflation-busting 7.4 per cent to &pound;820,000, almost cancelling out smaller bonus payments.<br /><br />IDS claims chief executives have &ldquo;slipped under the radar&rdquo; because outrage at bonuses has distracted from the fact that salaries increased handsomely and total pay packets were almost equal with the previous year.<br /><br />Steve Tatton, editor of IDS&rsquo;s Directors&rsquo; Pay Report, said: &ldquo;It is surprising that the credit crunch, which has led to some of the biggest rescue rights issues in living memory, has had so little impact on the rate at which chief executives&rsquo; salaries are rising.&rdquo; He added: &ldquo;Salaries for FTSE 100 chief executives are rising twice as fast as salaries for shop floor workers.&rdquo;<br /><br />The Association of British Insurers (ABI) acknowledged some &ldquo;restraint&rdquo; in bonuses but warned that &ldquo;excessive reward will ultimately destroy faith in the integrity of the system&rdquo;.<br /><br />The report will renew focus on the remuneration of the City&rsquo;s top earners after fresh controversy about bankers&rsquo; pay last week and the adoption of a pay tsar by President Barack Obama.<br /><br />IDS said shareholders would question whether bonus schemes that paid out &pound;500,000 were &ldquo;sufficiently challenging&rdquo; given the turmoil in the market over the previous year. Shareholders have registered their disapproval over recent months by attempting in large numbers to vote down remuneration proposals by BP and Royal Bank of Scotland.<br /><br />IDS found that chief executives of FTSE 100 construction firms pocketed the biggest salary increase at 12.8 per cent while the salaries of financial services bosses rose 5.7 per cent, retailers 5.2 per cent and media and marketing leaders 4.8 per cent. <br /><br />Directors of fund manager Lansdown Hargreaves topped the salary increases, with rises of up to 147 per cent while directors at rival Bluebay Asset Management took a 40 per cent salary cut after the introduction of a &pound;100,000 cap on their base pay.