HSBC directors paid pounds 1m more

THE 20 directors of HSBC Holdings, owners of Midland Bank, last year increased their pay, including bonuses and pension contributions, by pounds 1m to pounds 4.8m.

The emoluments of Sir William Purves, HSBC's chairman and highest-paid director, went up from pounds 890,000 to pounds 950,000, which included a discretionary bonus of pounds 40,000. Adding in pensions contributions, his total package rose from pounds 1.05m to pounds 1.06m.

Overall HSBC's directors received pounds 255,000 in discretionary bonuses in 1993, against none the year before. Pensions contributions also rose from pounds 275,000 to pounds 457,000.

In a separate announcement yesterday Hogg Group, the insurance broker that looks set to be taken over, confirmed that HSBC was one of the companies from which it had received an approach. Since HSBC last week increased its stake in Hogg to 6 per cent, the target company's shares have risen by almost 50 per cent to 210p.

Hogg would fit with HSBC's own London-based insurance business, which trades as Gibbs Hartley Cooper. HSBC's GIH division - the name derives from Group Insurance Head Office - made a pounds 12m profit last year on income of pounds 65m.

An HSBC spokeswoman said the group had had informal talks with Hogg's chairman, Anthony Howland Jackson, and board over the past two weeks. Hogg was still talking to other potential bidders.

Hogg's profits collapsed last year because of a costly expansion in the US and problems from a discontinued fine art and jewellery business. It has already warned shareholders that it will cut its dividend by almost a third to 5.65p a share.