Lloyds: £2m in bonuses taken back

 
Eric Daniels leaves Downing St in 2008 Eric Daniels will have to give up £700,000 of his bonus

One of the important reforms insisted on by regulators after the 2008 banking crisis was that bankers should have to give back some of their bonuses, if their bank performed worse than expected.

This is happening for the first time at a British bank - at Lloyds - because of the huge mess it made of mis-selling PPI credit insurance to customers.

It is quite an important moment, therefore, as the first time that British bankers have had to pay back some of what they thought they had already earned.

About 10 executives will see up to £2m of bonuses awarded to them taken back.

The former chief executive Eric Daniels is being forced to surrender up to £700,000 of a £1.45m bonus. And other directors and executives are giving up between £100,000 and a quarter of a million pounds each.

This will still leave them with substantial rewards. And some will say it is small comfort to the Lloyds customers caused considerable distress when they found their PPI insurance was worthless.

Also, £2m is not a huge sum next to the £3.2bn costs for Lloyds of compensating customers for the mis-selling - which has tipped Lloyds back into huge losses for 2011 (it will confirm the magnitude of those losses when its results are published on Friday).

That said, for the owners of the business, including taxpayers with a 41% stake, the clawback of bonuses is important for its deterrent effect.

Robert Peston: Lloyds made a "fearful mess" in mis-selling PPI credit insurance

Although some may see the clawback as an instance of stable doors and horses, if bankers start to feel that there is a serious risk of impoverishment when decisions they take go bad - even when those decisions go bad several years down the track - it may make them kick the tyres a little bit more assiduously when they launch new products or do assorted deals.

UPDATE

It turns out that this reduction of bonuses for Lloyds executives is a little bit more complicated than I thought.

Basically there has been a retrospective reduction in the size of the 2010 bonus pool, to reflect the fact that 2010 profits should have been much lower, to reflect the initial court case on mis-selling that went against the banks (and the subsequent decision to incur a £3.2bn charge to cover compensation costs).

However this does not mean that bonuses for all Lloyds staff are being cut. The reduction in bonuses relates only to executives in some way involved in PPI mis-selling.

And as I said earlier, this will mean a reduction in bonus of up to £700,000 for the former chief executive, Eric Daniels, a reduction of around £250,000 for three other board-level directors, and cuts of around £100,000 for five or so executives below board level.

But to be clear, this is not - in a technical sense - a clawback. It is an ex post reduction in the bonus awarded (stay awake).

Also, the Financial Services Authority has decided that the bonus-reduction does not represent an admission or verdict of guilt in respect of PPI mis-selling by the affected bankers - so they will not be automatically disqualified from working in banking.

UPDATE 16:05 GMT

It is fascinating that Lloyds' official statement relating to the reduction in bonus payments talks about the 13 relevant and poorer executives being "accountable" for the PPI misselling debacle, but not "culpable".

In respect of reducing their 2010 bonuses, it seems to have been easier for Lloyds simply to point to the fact that these bankers were on the Group Executive Committee at the relevant time, rather than trying to assign personal responsibility for the mis-selling through a painful, legalistic evidential process.

So I am not sure how much of a precedent all this represents, in respect of the ability of other banks to retrieve bonuses that have been awarded but not yet handed over to bankers, in the event that the performance of said banks was to turn out to be worse than expected.

In the case of RBS, which mis-sold PPI insurance to a lesser but still substantial extent, it says that it can't get back bonuses from its executives - because it stopped selling its main PPI product at the end of 2008, there were no bonuses awarded for 2008, and all the relevant executives have left the bank.

RBS tells me that the FSA, the regulator, has agreed its position on all this.

That said, the total bonus pools in respect of 2011 performance for both Lloyds and RBS have been cut, to take account of the banks' substantial losses from paying PPI compensation - which means the bonuses of most current executives will be reduced a bit.

PS Here are the final definitive numbers on bonus cuts for Lloyds executives.

Eric Daniels is collecting £580,000 less than he was awarded.

Four other directors will receive between £190,000 and £260,000 less than they were awarded.

And a further eight executives have seen their bonuses shrunk by around £50,000 or less.

 
Robert Peston Article written by Robert Peston Robert Peston Economics editor

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  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 17.

    Simple solution for all UK banks in future return to

    Unlimted Bank Liability in debt law.

    Bank Directors / CEOs are liable for ALL bank debts
    ( like 'Names' at Lloyds of London insurance were liable for pay out losses.)

    Also a bank unable to provide a Guarantee to a retail depositors should not be allowed to trade or a Banking Licence.

    Simple!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 16.

    This bonus stuff teats the British people as though they are stupid!

    The problem is the TOTAL REMUNERATION of bankers (and others).

    This has to be drastically cut. Arguing about tiny parts of bonuses is a deliberate distraction and media conspiracy.

    Their pay has to be cut. All of it. What is more their wealth has to be cut too.

    We need a Nation Maximum Income and a Wealth Tax ASAP!

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 15.

    Bankers and traders have ZERO benefit to society. Money should not be treated as a commodity like oil, gas and metals are. The reason it is not a commodity is that it is not a finite resource, QE has proved this.

    Nevermind the bonus fiasco, we should close down the whole financial sector, it is slowing down the progression of mankind and driving a monetary wedge between life and its achievements

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 14.

    Good. I hope the clawing back of fat-cat bonuses permeates through other companies too, and Whitehall, and overpaid council chiefs, and ..... and put into employment contracts!

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 13.

    Oh really - I bet that will make the pips squeak (Not).......Most of them still have their jobs then? Still, could be drummed up by Cameron's PR team to try to knock today's big story off the front pages - the little dictator's private health seminar.....

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 12.

    The PPI scandal was as close to dishonest as you can get. They should pay back everything, all their ill gotten gains.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 11.

    This is drop in the banking debt ocean & the UK taxpayer bailout of UK banks - a massive £1.2 trillion - including Lloyds & RBS & the huge loss £20 billion in the collapse of the UK taxpayer public share stake in RBS and Lloyds banks.

    When will we the taxpayer 'clawback' those huge losses?

    Why didn't the Tory Government sell the shares in May 2010?

    Why cling on to a dead horse?

  • rate this
    +17

    Comment number 10.

    While agreeing that it isa good start, i feel that it shows just how warped the bonus culture has become at the top. The vast majority of people have to considerably exceed targets to get a bonus, yet these people are still retaining a large proportion of their bonus while under performing. This is just not right.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 9.

    Will this keep the masses happy? I think not. What about Mr. Fred Goodwin's massive payout for failure, and his obscene pension?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 8.

    This is simply window dressing..but it is a start. Reclaiming bonuses should be fully retrospective, after all PPI created profits and therefore bonuses over many years.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 7.

    Why not all their bonus for the related period? It looks little more than a slap on the wrist and token gesture.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 6.

    This could be the start of a really great way to deal with fraud and other crimes.

    Let's claw back 5 or 10% of the proceeds of any criminal act instead of all this "send 'em to jail nonsense".

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 5.

    "give back some of their bonuses, if their bank performed worse than expected."

    Good this ought to focus minds in the banking fraternity and maybe stop the get in get rich get out mindset which seems to prevail at present.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 4.

    "Also, £2m is not a huge sum next to the £3.2bn costs for Lloyds of compensating customers for the mis-selling" etc

    Fair enough - though I expect past/present stupefying payrises will soften the blow to retain the country-wrecking 'talent'

    The taxpayer was in reality handed the bill for PPI mis-selling ... we'll doubtless get walloped for a long list of other past crimes by very very rich men

  • rate this
    -9

    Comment number 3.

    I thought the point of it all was good health. I can get a subway sandwich filled with delicious vegetables for less than a fiver very nutritous and I don't even need a fine ants shall service us crisis to get it. Money is a raw material. You use it to craft tools that help you survive. So you work you earn money and trade it for other things you want or need whats the problem dying are we?

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 2.

    Good. Incentives should be a complete package and that includes a downside if failure to perform means not getting it. Still huge packages though so maybe only a start on getting it right.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1.

    A reasonable start.

 

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