RBS bonus scheme to be reviewed

A bonus scheme for Royal Bank of Scotland directors is to be reviewed after it emerged that one element of the long-term plan had already been met.

Under proposals set out in a letter to shareholders before this week's annual meeting, directors including chief executive Stephen Hester would have needed a share price of 50p – below Friday night's closing price of 55.75p – to realise 30 per cent of the payout that relates to share price performance. The full entitlement as determined by share price would have been realised at 75p.

While shareholders in Edinburgh will still be asked to approve the structure of the scheme, RBS chairman Sir Philip Hampton is expected to admit that it requires "constant review".

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Further details could be announced next month.

The scheme was devised earlier this year following consultation with shareholders and UK Financial Investments, which holds the Government's stakes in RBS and Lloyds Banking Group. RBS shares at the time were below 30p and doubling the value seemed a distant target.

However, the use of share price targets for long-term incentives has angered some shareholders, including Standard Life's investment chief Keith Skeoch.

According to the Sunday Telegraph, he wrote to City Minister Lord Myners to voice his fears that banks may seek to maximise the share prices in an "unsustainable manner" and not consistent with long-term interests.

The long-term bonus scheme is based on three measures of performance, with half the award linked to the bank's economic profit achieved in 2012.

Another 25 per cent relates to the total shareholder return when compared with banking rivals such as Barclays and Lloyds, while the final quarter involves the controversial section on absolute share price performance.

RBS said its remuneration committee will give "close consideration" to the range of shareholder views before reaching a final position.