Bonus lifts Clara Furse's pay at LSE to £836,000

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The Independent Online

The London Stock Exchange awarded its chief executive Clara Furse, who has so far failed to clinch a takeover deal with a European rival, a 55 per cent pay rise last year.

The London Stock Exchange awarded its chief executive Clara Furse, who has so far failed to clinch a takeover deal with a European rival, a 55 per cent pay rise last year.

Ms Furse's pay package totalled £836,000 last year, up from £540,000 in 2003. That included a bonus of £460,000, a large increase from £186,000. Her basic salary rose to £374,000 from £351,000.

Her pay increase came during a bumper year for new issues, and an increase in electronic share trading and in LSE screens used by professionals. That produced a 4 per cent rise in annual revenues to £260m while pre-tax profits edged up to £89.1m from £88.8m the previous year, despite jittery equity markets. However, the cost of bid advisers was a hefty £6.8m - £2m a month - wiping out the profit made from the sale of the Stock Exchange Tower.

Ms Furse suffered a major setback in March when Deutsche Börse, the operator of the Frankfurt exchange, ditched its second attempt in four years to merge with the LSE following a shareholder revolt against the £1.3bn bid. The London market had twice rejected the German offer as too low. Ms Furse's talks with Jean-Francois Theodore, the head of the LSE's other suitor Euronext, continue, though the proposal is on hold until the UK's Competition Commission issues a ruling in mid-September.

Jonathan Howell, the LSE's finance director, saw his total pay rise to £595,000 last year from £421,000, including a £315,000 bonus.

An LSE spokesman said that both Ms Furse and Mr Howell had exceeded their personal objectives last year. He also pointed out that their basic salaries were below those typically seen at companies of the LSE's size and that there was more emphasis on bonuses.

Under a long-term incentive plan, Ms Furse also received 27,687 shares last year, worth £135,300 at the current share price, as well as 87,072 share options, worth £94,900.

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