Lloyds Banking's Bischoff Defends `Appropriate' Pay Policies to Investors

Lloyds Banking Group Plc Chairman Win Bischoff defended the bank’s pay policies, saying it has to provide “appropriate” performance awards to retain executives.

The bank has to “strike a balance,” while collaborating with investors and the government, which owns 41 percent of the bank, said Bischoff today at the bank’s the bank’s annual meeting of shareholders in Edinburgh.

Investors later backed the bank’s pay report, with 91.47 percent voting in favor.

Lloyds directors may receive as much as 275 percent of their salaries in stock awards under a three-year performance- related compensation plan if the company’s share price almost doubles to 114 pence from yesterday’s close of 60.1 pence. The Association of British Insurers, whose members control about a fifth of the stock market, said in April that shareholders should consider rejecting the bank’s compensation proposals.

“The figure you mentioned is a maximum over a number of years,” said Deputy Chairman Alexander Leitch, when asked by shareholder Mary Craig how the bank could justify paying Chief Executive Officer Eric Daniels 6.2 million pounds ($9.4 million). “I think we will all be very pleased to make that payout because it would create a lot of value for everyone in the room,” said Leitch.

“The board and executive seem detached from reality,” shareholder Lisa Stuart said before the meeting. “They keep saying that they need to pay the high salaries to get the best. Considering the mess they got us into, we could do without them.”

Investors supported Daniels’ re-election, with 99.6 percent backing the bank’s motion.

The bank in February posted a pretax loss of 6.3 billion pounds for 2009 after bad loans soared following its acquisition of HBOS Plc. It returned to profit in the first quarter of 2010, the bank said last week.

To contact the reporters responsible for this story: Andrew MacAskill in London at amacaskill@bloomberg.net Jon Menon in London at jmenon1@bloomberg.net

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