• Investment bank head got 386,075 pounds in shares for quarter
  • RBS awards executives $2.7 million in shares for first half

HSBC Holdings Plc granted 13 executives a total of 1.8 million pounds ($2.7 million) in shares for the third quarter, led by investment-banking chief Samir Assaf, as banks sidestep regulatory limits on bonuses.

Separately, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc paid 11 managers a similar total in share awards, though it took them two quarters to earn it.

Assaf received stock valued at 386,075 pounds, Chief Executive Officer Stuart Gulliver got 217,607 pounds and Asia-Pacific CEO Peter Wong collected 355,463 pounds, according to a statement Tuesday from HSBC, Europe’s largest bank. The role-based pay awards follow a second-quarter payment totaling 1.9 million pounds in August.

At RBS, Britain’s largest taxpayer-owned lender, CEO Ross McEwan was given the most shares for the second half of 2015, worth a total of 264,646 pounds. In February, he had said he would give the award to charity. Chris Marks and Mark Bailie, the co-heads of the lender’s investment bank, were awarded shares worth 211,714 pounds. The share awards, totaling 1.75 million pounds, will be released in installments over a five-year period.

Regulators have forced banks to limit bonuses to no more than twice fixed pay in a bid to rein in short-term risk-taking, blamed for helping cause the financial crisis of 2008. Banks have sidestepped the rules with role-based allowances, arguing the share awards are part of employees’ fixed salaries and aren’t affected by the bonus caps. The European Banking Authority plans to close the loophole.

The share awards at HSBC are based on a stock price of 527.8 pence, according to the statement. A fifth of those issued cannot be sold until March next year and the remainder have to be kept until March 2021. The shares closed at 523.4 pence in London.

HSBC Finance Director Iain Mackay and Chief Risk Officer Marc Moses both received stock worth 121,600 pounds.

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