The Royal Bank of Scotland's chief executive and chairman may both have given up their bonuses but the state-owned bank will today unveil plans to lavish up to £785m on its workforce, including £400m for its investment bankers.
Stephen Hester, the chief executive, turned down a payout of nearly £1m in shares while the chairman Sir Philip Hampton passed on £1.4m. But their nods to outrage, over bonuses being paid to people who work for a bank that called on £45bn of public funds to keep it afloat and is expected to announce losses of up to £2bn, have not been reflected among their senior colleagues.
While the full details of payments to other executives will not become clear until the bank issues its annual report later this year, John Hourican, head of global banking and markets, could receive as much as £5m, despite overseeing the redundancies of more than 3,000 staff.
Another set to receive a sizeable payout is American finance director Bruce Van Saun, who last year got a bonus of £1.35m as part of a £2.3m package. He too has yet to give any indication that he plans to forgo this year's award. More than 50 RBS customers are expected to line up outside a London branch today to close their accounts or protest directly to managers at the continued bonuses.
The overall bonus pool had to be agreed with the Government, which holds an 82 per cent stake in RBS. The £400m for investment bankers is the lowest since the bank was effectively nationalised in 2008. An RBS spokesman declined to comment on the figures but said:"Ten thousand of our most senior employees will receive no salary increase this year."
But campaigners remain furious. The TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: " Stephen Hester may have handed back his bonus, but other senior executives at the bank are set to pocket large payouts from a bonus pot of millions."
City analysts argue that if RBS was not able to hold on to its staff it would not be able to pay back the taxpayer's investment. The City commentator David Buik, from BGC Partners, said: "If the taxpayer wants repayment of its £45bn, it will need to employ quality people. That costs money."