Photographer: Munshi Ahmed/Bloomberg

DBS Cuts Executive Pay in 2016 Amid Surging NPLs, Control Lapses

  • ‘We should hold ourselves accountable,’ CEO Gupta says
  • Pay for DBS’s senior executives reduced by 13% last year

DBS Group Holdings Ltd. cut senior executive pay by 13 percent last year to hold managers accountable for weaknesses in three areas including surging nonperforming loans, Chief Executive Officer Piyush Gupta said.

Besides bad loans, the management of Singapore’s largest bank penalized executives for a weaker performance in Greater China and “control lapses” on the regulatory front, Gupta told shareholders Thursday at the lender’s annual meeting. Remuneration for the bank’s senior management including Gupta fell to S$58.2 million ($42 million) in 2016, DBS’s annual report shows.

“Even though our overall performance was very good, we thought we should rate ourselves down,” Gupta said. “I think it’s fair, because we should hold ourselves accountable to you.”

A 93 percent surge in DBS’s bad-debt allowances last year reduced annual profit by 2 percent as the firm grappled with turmoil in Singapore’s energy-services sector, which saw clients including Swiber Holdings Ltd. default on debt obligations. DBS also reported slumping profit in Hong Kong and a loss for the rest of Greater China, and was among banks penalized by regulators for lapses in anti-money laundering controls.

Gupta’s total pay fell 23 percent to S$8.44 million, a bigger cut than his counterparts at Singapore’s two other large banks.

Despite the weaker environment for earnings, DBS’s share price rose 3.9 percent last year, compared with a 19 percent slump in 2015.

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