Sir Win Bischoff faces wrath of Lloyds shareholders

Hamish Macdonell saw the bank's outgoing chairman come in for a rough ride at his final investors' meeting

Sir Win Bischoff could have been forgiven for hoping that his final shareholders' meeting would be an easy one. After all, the outgoing chairman of the Lloyds Banking Group had delivered – by his own admission – a much-improved prospect for the partly state-owned bank during his time in charge.

Lloyds was "ahead of plan", he said, in its bid to get back on such a sound financial footing that the Government could sell off its 39 per cent share and return the bank to private investors.

If that was Sir Win's hope, it was a forlorn one as angry shareholder followed angry shareholder to berate the chairman at the bank's annual general meeting in Edinburgh. The words "disgrace", "shame", "shambles and "abysmal" were hurled at Sir Win and the other members of the board during the three-hour inquisition.

"I am a great believer in these meetings," Sir Win declared stoically afterwards. "Your views, support and, yes, criticism, are valued and keep your board and management of their toes," he told the shareholders.

But it was mostly criticism, rather than support or views, that he had to cope with. Although only 4 per cent of investors voted against the directors' pay resolution, many shareholders at the meeting were angry with the bank's failure to issue dividends while allocating more than £1bn in bonuses to staff over the last three years.

Others attacked the pay levels of senior staff, some called for the bank to stop avoiding full UK taxes by using offshore havens, while a few complained that the problems associated with the takeover of HBOS five years ago still had not addressed.

The Rev Dennis Nadin was one shareholder to take issue with Sir Win, appealing for an end to the bonus culture. "Why do those who already get large salaries need incentives to do their job well? he asked, adding: "Greed breeds greed."

Mr Nadin said that the reputation of banking had sunk low because of the "greed culture" that senior bankers had allowed to flourish, and appealed to the meeting to reject the recommendations of the remuneration committee of the bank which set out the pay and bonuses packages for staff.

David Harrison was another shareholder to attack the proposed bonuses. He claimed that had the bank paid bonuses of a maximum of £1,000, then the bank might already have been returned to private hands. He said: "If you had done that you could have paid off the Government by now and you would be returning a dividend to shareholders."

Sir Win pointed out that overall bonus payments had gone down, despite a good performance by the bank. "Despite the substantially better results in 2012 over those for 2011, the total bonus pool has been reduced in 2012 by approximately 3 per cent to £365m," he said.

He also argued there would be a return to dividends, soon. "We remain committed to restarting dividend payments as soon as we are able," he said. "We fully understand the difficulties that their absence is causing our shareholders. Once regulatory requirements have been clearly defined and we have prudently met them, and the financial position of the group and market conditions permit, it is our intention to recommence dividend payments."

The chairman also said he believed the bank would be returned to private investors in the near future. "Now that the balance sheet has been substantially strengthened and all of the liquidity support received from the UK Government has been repaid, our focus is on increasing profitability and returns to shareholders.

"Over time, this should in turn allow the Government the opportunity to commence the sale of its shareholding, which currently stands at just under 39 per cent."

Ann Edmonds from Edinburgh attacked the bank for its use of tax havens, arguing that, if Lloyds really wanted to help boost the UK economy, it could stop avoiding UK tax. "Tax avoidance is legal and that is what the Lloyds Banking Group is doing," she said, referring to 259 subsidiary companies of Lloyds which, she claimed, operated from offshore tax havens.

Sir Win admitted that the bank did operate some offshore subsidiaries. "We do have, for operational reasons, some subsidiaries in what might be called tax havens," he said. But he defended the bank's activities by declaring that Lloyds was the third-biggest taxpayer in the UK.

Other questioners demanded to know why the bank was still suffering from the fallout from the takeover of HBOS; several commented on the collapse of the plan to sell 600 branches to the Co-operative Bank; while others demanded dismissals at a top level because of the payment protection insurance mis-selling scandal.

Sir Win dealt with every question as courteously and coolly as he could and smiled often – no doubt aware that by the time shareholders gather to berate the board again next year, this will all be somebody else's problem.

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film Ridley Scott reveals truth behind casting decisions of Exodus
News
people
Sport
footballArsenal 2 Borussia Dortmund 0: And they can still top the group
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
filmThe singers widow and former bandmates have approved project
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
News
Albert Camus (left) and Jean-Paul Sartre fell out in 1952 and did not speak again before Camus’s death
people
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
Ed Miliband visiting the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The Labour leader has spoken more openly of his heritage recently
newsAttacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But are the barbs more sinister?
Arts and Entertainment
'Felfie' (2014) by Alison Jackson
photographyNew exhibition shows how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
News
i100
Life and Style
Fright night: the board game dates back to at least 1890
life
Environment
The vaquita is being killed by fishermen trying to catch the totoaba fish, which is prized in China
environmentJust 97 of the 'world's cutest' sea mammals remain
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Langley James : IT Support; Helpdesk, VMware; Manchester, £18k

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Langley James : IT Support; Helpdesk, VMware; Manch...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager - HRO - £70k+ ote

£35000 - £450000 per annum + £3k car, £70k ote: h2 Recruit Ltd: Do you want to...

Citifocus Ltd: Newly Qualified Accountants - Risk Mgmt

£Attractive Package: Citifocus Ltd: Prestigious financial institution seeks to...

Citifocus Ltd: Operational Risk Analyst

£Negotiable: Citifocus Ltd: Experienced operational risk professional with ban...

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?