Ex-SNC boss set to earn pounds 1.6m

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The Independent Online

Michael Marks, chairman of Smith New Court, the UK stockbroker sold to Merrill Lynch, could earn up to pounds 1.6m in the coming financial year.

Mr Marks, who always preferred doing a deal with Merrill ahead of a counter- approach from Commerzbank, has joined Merrill Lynch's executive management committee in New York, where he is co-head of global equities.

Mr Marks's basic salary is pounds 250,000 a year, as detailed in the documents sent to shareholders as part of the Merrill Lynch transaction. However, it is believed a discretionary annual bonus could lift this sum to the pounds 1.6m figure.

Mr Marks's new package brings him in line with the kind of remuneration deals regularly on offer on Wall Street. Daniel Tully, Merrill's chairman and chief executive, last year earned a package in excess of $5m (pounds 3.13m).

Mr Marks also owned shares in Smith New Court, formerly the UK's leading independent stockbroker, which were valued at more than pounds 3m by the terms of the Merrill Lynch deal. Merrill Lynch finally offered 565p a share for SNC, having made an initial informal approach of less than 500p.

Some of the other senior Smith New Court executives, who have remained with the company following the takeover, will also stand to benefit from sizeable performance-related packages.

Merrill is known to adopt a pay policy that incorporates a basic salary which is heavily topped up if performance targets are met. .

Last month it emerged that another 70 key staff at Smith New Court could share in a pounds 30m loyalty fund which has been set up to persuade them to stay with their new parent.