Lloyds Bank has avoided a shareholder revolt over pension pay despite MPs accusing bosses of “boundless greed.”
Chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio, Britain’s best-paid bank boss, took home £6.3m last year, which included a pension contribution of 46 per cent – compared to the maximum 13 per cent for other employees.
Angry shareholders blasted the bank’s board over pay at today’s AGM but just eight per cent voted against the remuneration report – compared to a 20 per cent rebellion last year.
Chairman Norman Blackwell defended executives’ pay and praised Horta-Osorio, for turning the bank around.
He said: “We should and need to pay for performance, we believe in rewarding performance.
“The successful turnaround of Lloyds Banking Group has been hugely important for the UK as a whole as well as customers and shareholders.
He added: “I don’t think there are many people who would do the arduous hours and tasks that they take on for free.”
One investor hit back and told Blackwell to “take the first rocket back to your parallel universe,” while another said the disparity between executive pay and other employees was damaging to society.
In February Horta-Osorio voluntarily reduced his pension contributions from 46 per cent of his base salary down to 33 per cent.
The move appeased shareholder advisory groups ISS and Glass Lewis, who recommended investors backed the report ahead of the meeting.
Just hours before the meeting, the bank unveiled plans to pay dividends quarterly from next year, becoming the 12th FTSE 100 firm to do so.
On the eve of the AGM, MPs accused the bank of “boundless greed” over its executive pension pay and called for an explanation after a video emerged of staff being persuaded to vote for the pension programme.
Shareholders also grilled directors on the bank’s handling of the HBOS Reading fraud and an alleged cover up.
TV star Noel Edmonds, embroiled in a legal battle with the bank, led the charge with a fiery ten-minute encounter with Blackwell.
The Deal or No Deal presenter repeatedly asked chairman Lord Blackwell how many police forces were currently investigating the bank but was unable to get an answer.
Blackwell said: “You and many other can make allegations all over the place but criminality has to be proven.”
Following a heated exchange, in which Edmonds accused the board of criminality, the former Crinkley Bottom resident’s microphone was turned off.
Undeterred, he bellowed from the back of the room: “I hope you’re all satisfied.”