May 23 (Bloomberg) -- HSBC Holdings Plc Chairman Douglas Flint is underpaid, the head of the bank’s compensation committee said, as 21 percent of investors opposed its pay policy.
“Douglas is underpaid for what he does, and he does an extremely good job,” Simon Robertson, the former chairman of Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc, told investors at the bank’s annual meeting in London today.
The vote against compensation policy comes after shareholders registered protests over pay at U.K. competitors Barclays Plc and Standard Chartered Plc. HSBC had attempted to appease investors by cutting a potential bonus for its chairman of 44 percent of fixed pay from 100 percent.
Flint, 58, was paid 2.25 million pounds ($3.8 million) including 1.5 million pounds in base salary and a 750,000-pound cash contribution in lieu of a personal pension for 2013.
The opposition to HSBC’s policy, which outlines the bank’s plans on pay for the next three years, follows a 41 percent vote against Standard Chartered’s compensation policy at its annual meeting and a 24 percent who opposed Barclays’s 2013 pay report.
Barclays, the U.K.’s second-biggest bank, paid its non-executive chairman David Walker 767,000 pounds including fees and benefits for 2013, while Standard Chartered paid $1.8 million to Chairman John Peace, according to their annual reports. Flint is an executive chairman at HSBC.
The highest-paid employee at HSBC received 8 million pounds last year, according to the bank’s annual report, which didn’t identify the person.
HSBC Chief Executive Officer Stuart Gulliver said the bank is unlikely to overhaul its investment bank to help it meet regulatory requirements.
“I don’t see a need for us to exit large chunks of that at all and it’s been very resilient,” Gulliver said in reference to the fixed income, currencies and commodities operations within HSBC’s investment bank.
Barclays said earlier this month it would eliminate 7,000 jobs at its investment bank and shrink its fixed-income business. Deutsche Bank is raising 8 billion euros ($11 billion) to help bolster its capital levels to help it compete in fixed income.
HSBC passed all its resolutions at the shareholder meeting, including a plan to allow some employees to receive bonuses as much as double their fixed salaries and comply with European Union restrictions.
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