RBS shareholders revolt against remuneration policy
by Gill Montia
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) shareholders have voted overwhelmingly against the remuneration policy proposed by the bank’s board at its annual general meeting, on Friday of last week.
UK Financial Investments, the body set up to oversee taxpayers’ interests in the bank, put its voting weight behind the protest which has been fuelled by the £700,000 a year pension awarded to Sir Fred Goodwin, RBS’s disgraced former chief executive.
However, the 90.4% shareholder vote against the remuneration policy does not oblige the board to act as the vote was “advisory”.
Sir Fred’s name will be forever linked with the group’s disastrous acquisition of Dutch bank ABN Amro and his refusal to succumb to public sanction and hand back his pension entitlement.
RBS’s new leadership say they are trying to create a “firebreak” between the recent past and their determination to return the business to profit.
Prior to the meeting, RBS chairman Sir Philip Hampton called for an end to the “public flogging” of the bank at the same time as announcing that further job cuts are inevitable, both in the UK and internationally.
Meanwhile, matters surrounding RBS’s £12 billion rights issue of last summer are unlikely to evaporate.
Speaking to the BBC, Michael Lamoureux, who founded the RBS shareholder action group, accused the bank of perpetrating “the biggest crime in financial history in the UK” when it embarked on the fundraising.
Legal action is planned.
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