Million-pound pay deals for 72 lucky bankers at bailed out RBS

An RBS office in the City
An RBS office in the City
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Royal Bank of Scotland, the bailed-out lender, paid the same number of bankers £1m in 2014 as the year before despite sustained losses and public anger.

The lender, 80 per cent owned by the taxpayer, gave 72 employees £1m or more in 2014, the same number as in 2013 - while claiming it was at the “leading edge of reform” on bringing down banker pay.

RBS last week reported a £3.5bn annual loss for last year, though this was an improvement on the £8.2bn loss a year before.

Today’s figures also cover a year in which the bank paid £399m in fines to US and UK regulators over the foreign exchange rate rigging scandal.

Its remuneration report disclosed that the number of bankers paid 1m euro (£806,000 according to the exchange rate it used) or more fell from 131 to 110.

But the number paid 1.5m euro (£1.21m) or more actually rose, from 43 to 51. The number of sterling millionaires created by the bank was not disclosed in the report but was understood to be 72.

Last year saw three staff paid between 5m-6m euro (£4m-4.8m) according to the report.

The figures are reported in euros because of new requirements from Brussels.

RBS also disclosed that 1,200 employees earned total remuneration of more than £250,000 while 6,700 made do with between £100,000 and £250,000, and 15,500 were paid between £50,000 and £100,000.

Chief executive Ross McEwan last week admitted that the lender’s £421m bonus pool - 21 per cent down on 2013 - remained “outrageous” and confirmed he would not be taking his own £1m role-based incentive.

Today’s report disclosed his total remuneration for 2014 was £1.85m, including a £1m basic salary, £143,00 in benefits, £350,000 for his pension and £358,000 from a long-term bonus award.

Finance director Ewen Stevenson received substantially more, at £3.1m, after pocketing a £1.9m golden hello share award following his move from Credit Suisse.

Meanwhile former chief executive Stephen Hester, who was ousted in 2013, received a shares award that vested last year worth £858,847. The Yorkshire-raised businessman has since gone on to become chief executive of insurance group RSA.

Sandy Crombie, chairman of the group performance and remuneration committee, said: “The committee must balance the views of our stakeholders with our duty to reward our people fairly, and our responsibility to ensure we are running a commercial business with the best available talent.

“RBS has been at the leading edge of reform in bringing down how much we pay and changing the structure of how pay is delivered.”

Meanwhile, Chancellor George Osborne said the Government would like to “get rid of” its stake as quickly as possible, but warned a sale could take years to complete.

“When I say ‘get rid’ of it, I mean put it into the good hands of the private sector,” Mr Osborne told the Financial Times.

He also admitted he made a mistake in not radically restructuring the bank when the coalition came to power in 2010.

Mr Osborne warned the huge size of the Government’s stake in the bank, worth £34.4bn at current share prices, meant it could take years to complete the sale.

Britain pumped £45.5bn into RBS to rescue it during the financial crisis of 2007-9, meaning taxpayers are sitting on a loss of more than £11bn.