LONDON (Reuters) - Barclays paid almost 500 staff more than 1 million pounds last year, prompting criticism that pay is still too high and that banks have not changed their ways since the financial crisis.
Barclays and Lloyds Banking Group also revealed in their annual reports that their chief executives could each earn more than 7 million pounds this year and that both banks were seeking approval from shareholders to pay some staff bonuses of double their fixed pay.
Bonuses have been blamed for contributing to excessive risk-taking that led to the 2008 crisis and the European Union has taken steps to cap them.
Conservative lawmaker Andrew Tyrie, chairman of parliament’s Treasury Select Committee, on Wednesday slammed the bonuses paid out by UK banks and said authorities may need to step in.
“It is regrettable that a number of banks appear not to have accepted the need for fundamental reform in this year’s bonus round. The new consensus emerging on pay remains seriously flawed. It will now be up to regulators to do the job.”
Barclays provoked fury last month when it paid out 2.4 billion pounds in bonuses for 2013, up 10 percent on the year despite profits tumbling by a third.
Barclays said 481 staff were paid at least 1 million pounds in 2013, up from 428 the year before. It said 57 percent of last year’s number were based in the United States and 27 percent - or 130 - were based in Britain.
Barclays CEO Antony Jenkins has said he had to increase bonuses to help to retain staff. Jenkins was quoted in the Daily Telegraph on Wednesday saying he feared a “death spiral” where the bank struggled to attract good staff and its brand was damaged.
Barclays said Jenkins could be paid up to 7.2 million pounds this year, down 1.4 million from his maximum pay under his previous pay structure, although more is now guaranteed.
Lloyds, which is 33 percent-owned by the government, said its CEO Antonio Horta-Osorio could be paid as much as 7.8 million pounds this year.
Lloyds’ Horta-Osorio was paid 4.5 million pounds for 2013, including long-term share awards and pension and benefits. He could have received a maximum of 8 million pounds.
Lloyds said it expected Horta-Osorio to get 4.9 million pounds this year, but he has the potential to get almost 3 million more.
He will get a base salary of 1.1 million pounds for 2014, an additional fixed payment worth about 900,000 pounds and benefits worth 700,000. He could get a 2014 bonus of 1.5 million and 3.6 million pounds of shares under a long-term incentive plan.
Lloyds said it would seek approval from shareholders to be able to pay key staff bonuses worth 200 percent of their fixed pay, following Barclays and HSBC.
European rules have capped bonuses at 100 percent of salary, but this can rise to 200 percent if shareholders allow it.
Lloyds said it paid 27 staff more than 1 million euros in 2013, a year in which it set aside billions of pounds to compensate customers mis-sold loan insurance.
The bank said it clawed back bonuses that were paid to some executives in 2010 and 2011 to reflect losses the bank has made on insurance policies mis-sold in the past.
In its annual report, Lloyds, which is headquartered in Edinburgh and owns Bank of Scotland, said if Scots vote this year for independence from the rest of the United Kingdom, it could have a material impact on its compliance, tax and funding costs.
Barclays said Jenkins was paid 1.6 million pounds last year, after waiving his bonus for the second straight year as the bank fell short of its targets and raised cash from shareholders.
He will this year receive 1.1 million pounds in base salary, 363,000 in pension and benefits and a fixed allowance of 950,000. He could receive up to 1.9 million pounds in annual bonus and 2.9 million in long-term share awards.
The bank said eight staff were paid more than 5 million pounds during the year, up from five in 2012, and a further 54 were last year paid at least 2.5 million.
Editing by Jane Merriman