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Prudential’s Highest-Paid Employee Awarded $29 Million

Prudential Headquarters
A logo sits on a wall outside Prudential Plc's headquarters in London. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

Prudential Plc, the U.K.’s largest insurer by market value, awarded its highest-paid employee at least 17.4 million pounds ($29 million) in 2013, more than any director on the board.

The compensation of the unidentified person eclipsed that of the head of the U.S. unit, Mike Wells, and Chief Executive Officer Tidjane Thiam, who received 11.7 million pounds and 8.66 million pounds respectively, according to London-based Prudential’s annual report today.

“Seventeen-and-a-half million pounds is a huge one-off payout for any individual,” Darius McDermott, managing director at Chelsea Financial Services, an investment adviser in London, said by telephone. “It may or not be deserved, but it would be quite nice to know who it is so we can can form a judgment.”

Michael McLintock, the 53-year-old CEO of Prudential’s fund management arm, M&G, was the third-highest paid director, receiving 6.49 million pounds. The money manager reported a record profit in 2013 and an investment performance that saw all of its fixed-income funds for institutional clients outperform their benchmarks.

Performance Bonuses

Another employee, who wasn’t named, received at least 7.5 million pounds from the insurer. The compensation of the unidentified pair included 24.6 million pounds in performance-related bonuses, according to the report.

A company spokesman declined to name the two people, saying the top five highest paid employees are disclosed to comply with its Hong Kong-based trading requirements.

Prudential’s shares rallied 55 percent last year as Thiam continued the firm’s expansion in Asia. The company’s seven executive directors, including Wells, Thiam and the former CEO of the U.K. unit, Rob Devey, received about 47 million pounds in total for 2013.

“The remuneration packages are designed to ensure a strong alignment between pay and performance,” Prudential said in the report today. “Sustained growth across all of our key performance metrics has delivered substantial value to our shareholders,” which has been reflected in awards, it said.

The awards come as regulators seek to tighten compensation at banks to prevent a repeat of the 2008 global financial crisis. Some banks are seeking to sidestep European Union rules that ban them from paying bonuses more than twice a senior employee’s salary.

Prudential Plc has no relation to Newark, New Jersey-based Prudential Financial Inc.

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