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Canadian Investment-Banker Compensation Declined Last Year

Compensation for investment-banking heads at Canada’s six largest banks fell an average 8.6 percent last year as trading revenue declined, while chief executive officers at most of the lenders received higher pay.

Total direct compensation for the top eight investment bankers was an average of C$7.67 million ($7.77 million) in 2010, according to regulatory filings. That compares with an average of C$8.39 million a year earlier.

Royal Bank of Canada was among lenders that said trading revenue fell in the year ended Oct. 31 because of “lower client volumes and tighter spreads,” reducing investment-banking profit by 6.8 percent to C$1.65 billion.

As a result, RBC Capital Markets Co-Group Head Mark Standish received C$10.4 million in direct compensation, a 26 percent decrease from the year earlier, while Co-Group Head Doug McGregor received C$10.2 million, a 22 percent decline.

“Part of it is perception,” Bill Vlaad, president of Toronto-based recruiter Vlaad & Co., said in an interview. “The upper echelon has to take it on the chin a little bit harder in order to lead the troops.”

CIBC World Markets, the investment-banking unit of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, was the only firm that paid its top investment banker more in 2010. CIBC World Markets CEO Richard Nesbitt was awarded C$7.96 million in direct compensation last year, 47 percent higher than in 2009, according to a regulatory filing today.

TD Securities head Robert Dorrance received C$8.1 million in 2010, down 1.8 percent, while BMO Capital Markets CEO Tom Milroy was awarded C$7 million, down 6.7 percent from 2009, for example.

Bank Chiefs

In comparison, bank CEOs received higher compensation, with the exception of National Bank of Canada’s Louis Vachon. Royal Bank CEO Gordon Nixon received C$11 million, a 5.8 increase from the year-earlier period, the result of higher overall profit at the country’s largest lender.

Toronto-Dominion Bank CEO Edmund Clark received C$11.3 million, an 8.4 percent increase from the year earlier. Bank of Nova Scotia increased CEO Richard Waugh’s compensation by 10 percent to C$10.7 million after the bank posted record profit. Bank of Montreal’s William Downe was paid C$9.54 million, a 28 percent boost from 2009. Canadian Imperial increased the compensation of CEO Gerald McCaughey by 50 percent to C$9.34 million in 2010 from the year earlier.

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