Even as its profit growth fell short of analysts’ expectations, HSBC increased its bonus pool for top staff by 6% to £2.3 billion (US$3.9 billion).
The bank confirmed that it would pay 665 of its senior managers — including its chief executive, Stuart Gulliver, and its CFO Iain Mackay — a fixed-pay allowance as part of their compensation. Gulliver will be given a £1.7 million fixed allowance on top of his £1.25 million salary.
The allowance will qualify neither as a salary nor a bonus. The changes are intended to cope with new EU rules that limit bonuses to no more than 200% of salary from this year.
"It’s much more complicated," Gulliver said. "I think we had a compensation plan that shareholders liked. Sadly because of the EU directive we’ve had to change."
The banking giant revealed that 239 of its bankers received more than £1 million last year.
In a bid to slash costs, the bank has axed more than 40,000 jobs over the past three years to 254,000 at the end of 2013 and has closed more than 60 non-core businesses.