Wednesday 19 June 2019 1:06 pm

Lloyds Bank boss defends pay and pension perks as MPs accuse him of greed

Lloyds Bank boss Antonio Horta-Osorio has defended his pay packet and pension perks in a grilling by MPs.

Horta-Osorio, who as Britain’s best-paid boss took home £6.3m last year, insisted his pay packet was in line with the market rate for major bank chief executives.

Remuneration committee chairman Stuart Sinclair told MPs the bank’s boss deserved his salary and there was not widespread discontent among staff.

He said: “They see Antonio as a winner because he brought the bank back from the brink, people see that as a big achievement.”

Read more: Lloyds Bank avoids pension pay revolt but faces grilling from Noel Edmonds

His bumper pay included a pension contribution of 46 per cent of his base salary – compared to a maximum 13 per cent for other employees.

Earlier this year he voluntarily reduced his pension perk to 33 per cent but the committee remained unsatisfied.

The Work and Pensions Committee questioned Horta-Osorio earlier today over his pension contribution and total fixed compensation of £2.8m.

Committee chair Frank Field asked: “How do you justify your greed?”

Horta-Osorio responded: “It is very difficult to accept the word ‘greed’ when my total fixed compensation is lower than the group chief executive of HSBC.

He added: “My total fixed compensation at £2.8m is absolutely in line with other major bank’s chief executives, but that doesn’t mean we are not mindful of decreasing the pay gap.”

After share awards and other payments are factored in, Horta-Osorio’s take home salary of £6.3m was higher than HSBC boss John Flint’s £4.6m.

RBS’s Ross McEwan took home £3.6m, while Barclays’ Jes Staley was paid a total of £3.4m.

Sinclair added the bank’s pay review next year, which comes in three-year cycles, would take further steps.

Lloyds Bank had the highest pay disparity of all UK banks last year, with Horta-Osorio on 169 times as much as the median paid employee on £37,058.

Read more: Lloyds Bank boss summoned by MPs to explain pension pay perks

Horta-Osorio said that steps had been taken to tackle pay inequality.

He said that employees’ pay had risen an average of 3.5 per cent in recent years compared to two per cent among senior staff and that all employees had received shares in the bank over the past three years.

The bank avoided a shareholder revolt over pension pay in May as Horta-Osorio’s pension pay reduction appeased investors.