323 RBS staff receive average £1.2m pay

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The Independent Online

Part-nationalised Royal Bank of Scotland has revealed it paid £375 million to 323 staff last year in a move set to fuel further anger over bank pay.

The hefty payout means 323 of its bankers - those deemed to be in risk-sensitive roles, known as "code staff" - earned an average of £1.2 million each in 2010.

RBS, which is 83%-owned by the taxpayer, also said its highest-paid senior executives outside board level were paid a total of £21 million last year - with two earning £5.9 million each.

The disclosures were made in line with new European Union rules and follow the sector's so-called Project Merlin deal with Government to rein in pay and boost business lending.

RBS has already sparked controversy after it emerged last week that chief executive Stephen Hester was awarded an extra shares bonus worth up to £4.5 million - taking his total potential package for 2010 to £7.7 million.

The vast majority of the £375 million paid to code staff last year was made within the bank's investment banking team, accounting for £256 million.

The bank revealed 93 code staff were senior managers.

RBS's pay details are significantly below the £2.4 million average paid to 231 code staff at Barclays, who were paid a combined £554 million last year.

But the figure is slightly higher than that at HSBC, which said it paid 280 an average of just over £1 million.

Mr Hester claimed his pay was "at the low end of comparable jobs" when he appeared at a hearing with MPs on the Commons Public Accounts Committee yesterday.

He has been embroiled in controversy after last week's revelation of an additional £4.5 million potential shares windfall, which comes on top of his £2 million annual bonus for 2010 and was not originally revealed under the Merlin agreement.

It also transpired that he is entitled to a maximum of six million shares for this year's annual bonus, worth more than £2.4 million at current prices.

Ellen Alemany, chief executive of RBS's Citizens US arm, was one of the top five highest-paid executives below board level, with a £5.9 million package.

Global banking and markets head John Hourican also earned £5.9 million, while Nathan Bostock, who is in charge of restructuring the bank, was paid £3.4 million, retail banking boss Brian Hartzer earned £3.2 million and corporate banking chief Chris Sullivan picked up £2.6 million.

The bank did not reveal exact numbers of those staff paid more than £1 million each, although Sir Philip Hampton has already admitted that more than 100 get over £1 million a year.

Executive pay at RBS has attracted significant attention, given its status as a taxpayer-backed bank.

Prime Minister David Cameron has insisted the group should be a "back-marker" for pay.

The group's results recently revealed a marked improvement on 2009, but it remained in the red with losses of £1.1 billion for 2010.