* Pay award to Gulliver is excessive -- governance group
* Shareholders also urged to abstain on Green’s re-election
By Raji Menon
LONDON, May 17 (Reuters) - HSBC (HSBA.L) investors have been urged to oppose the bank’s pay plans by a governance body which objects to a 9 million pound ($13 million) bonus for the bank’s investment banking chief.
Pirc, which advises institutional investors with assets of over 1.5 trillion pounds, said Stuart Gulliver, head of HSBC’s global banking and markets division, received a bonus of over 11 times his base salary. “This award is excessive,” it said.
Pirc said excluding Gulliver and chairman Stephen Green, who waived his bonus, HSBC’s executive directors received bonuses of 167-373 percent of their base salaries in 2009.
HSBC’s (0005.HK) plan to pay chief executive Michael Geoghegan an extra 300,000 pounds a year for living costs following his relocation to Hong Kong has already come under attack from shareholders. [ID:nLDE62329L]
Proxy voting agency Riskmetrics last week recommended investors vote for the pay proposals at the shareholder meeting next week, saying “issues raised in respect of remuneration are considered to have been adequately explained”.
Pirc is also urging investors to abstain from re-electing Green “in light of his executive responsibilities, which we consider to be inappropriate for a chairman”.
HSBC declined to comment.
Last month, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) was forced to toughen targets on executive bonuses in an attempt to allay public anger over “obscene payouts”. [ID:nLDE63R1MX]
Stung by criticism over their role in the financial crisis, institutional investors are preparing to voice their anger over contentious issues such as pay and strategy by voting down management proposals. [ID:nLDE6351GO]
HSBC will hold its annual shareholder meeting on May 28. (Editing by Sharon Lindores) ($1=.6935 Pound)