Sat, Mar 23, 2013 - Page 15 News List

Credit Suisse pay jump for CEO could fuel debate

Reuters, ZURICH, Switzerland

Credit Suisse upped the remuneration of chief executive Brady Dougan by one-third last year, likely adding to public and political dismay over the scale of banker pay in a year when the Swiss bank’s stock stalled.

Anger at pay levels has already driven Swiss voters to back some of the world’s strictest controls on executive pay, forcing public companies to give shareholders a binding vote on compensation.

European officials, emboldened by a victory over banker bonuses, are also expected to propose legislation giving shareholders the right to challenge executive pay amid public anger at Wall Street-style excess in the boardrooms.

Credit Suisse’s investment banking rival drew fire last week when it disclosed a nearly US$9 million payout for CEO Sergio Ermotti last year and a US$26 million welcome package for its new investment bank chief.

UBS was bailed out by the Swiss government nearly five years ago.

Dougan, who sparked a public outcry in 2010 when he received about 70 million Swiss francs (US$74 million at current exchange rates) in shares from a 2004 stock-linked bonus plan and was awarded SF19 million for 2009, received SF7.77 million last year.

The bank’s top earner two years running was Robert Shafir, promoted to co-head of the newly merged private bank and asset management unit in November last year.

His overall pay was SF10.59 million last year, up from SF8.50 million a year before. Shafir is also head of the Americas for Credit Suisse.

Part of Shafir’s pay was a SF1.87 million share in the bank’s private equity and hedge funds, meant to tie his interests with those of a wider asset management restructuring.

Shafir, who was already granted a stake in alternative investment funds in 2008, could be set for awards of US$10 million if the funds achieve certain returns over their lifetime of up to 15 years, according to footnotes in the annual report.

The bank’s compensation body echoed comments from last year, saying Shafir “successfully repositioned the former asset management division while improving financial results through higher net revenues and lower total operating expenses.”

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