UK taxpayer-backed Royal Bank of Scotland will stoke up controversy about bankers’ pay this week when it announces that 300 of its top staff received packages averaging £1m each last year.
The group, in which the British Government holds an 83% stake, will reveal the figures when it publishes its annual report on Thursday.
It is the first time the bank will have had to publish figures on the pay of its senior staff following the introduction of a new code on remuneration from City watchdog the Financial Services Authority and an agreement reached with the Government as a result of the Project Merlin deal.
Analysts estimate the total pay bill for RBS’s senior executives and bankers will be around £350 million.
The money will be shared between senior staff, as well as an estimated 300 people who have been classed as so-called code workers – those who take material risks for the bank on a regular basis.
They are thought to have received pay packets averaging £1 million each, although some of this will be deferred.
The figure would be broadly in line with the average payout given to HSBC’s code staff, although it would be down on the £2.4 million that Barclays’ 231 code staff received on average.
The annual report will also include details on the top five executive pay packages outside of board level, although the individuals do not have to be named.
The group has already revealed that chief executive Stephen Hester received a total pay packet potentially worth up to £7.7 million for 2010, made up of a £1.2 million salary for the year, £2 million annual bonus and £4.5 million of shares, which are deferred until 2014 and dependent on performance targets being met.
Finance boss Bruce Van Saun received £1.4 million in annual pay and bonuses and is entitled to up to £2.8 million in long-term incentive payouts.
Other hefty pay packages went to Ellen Alemany, chief executive of the bank’s Citizens US arm, who got 2.6 million shares for a 2010 bonus, now worth £1.2 million, with a further 5.5 million shares worth £2.4 million as part of the long-term scheme.
Global Banking and Markets head John Hourican received an all-share bonus for 2010 worth £2.6 million at the current share price.
The latest details on handouts are likely to be controversial given the high level of government support RBS has received. Prime Minister David Cameron has also insisted the group should be a “back-marker” for pay.
RBS remained in the red last year despite an improved performance, with losses of £1.1 billion in 2010.
It emerged last week that Barclays boss Bob Diamond was handed a total pay package worth £9 million last year, including long-term incentive share awards and a £6.5 million bonus.