Five senior RBS executives share pay and bonuses worth £21m

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The Independent Online

Royal Bank of Scotland revealed yesterday that its top five non-board executives collectively earned more than £21m last year.

The part-nationalised bank also disclosed it paid a total of £375m to 323 key staff members, including £256m to its top investment bankers.

The top-earning non-board executive last year was Ellen Alemany, who heads the loss-making bank's USoperation, the bank disclosed in itsannual report.

She was paid a total of £5.95m,including £1.8m salary, more than the £1.2m salary earned by her boss Stephen Hester, RBS's chief executive.

The next biggest earner was John Hourican, RBS's investment banking head, who received £5.93m. Restructuring chief Nathan Bostock earned £3.36m, retail boss Brian Hartzer earned £3.24m and insurance head Chris Sullivan earned £2.63m.

The decision to pay out tens of millions to the RBS executives will fuel anger about top bankers' pay.

John Mann, MP for Bassetlaw and a member of the Treasury Select Committee, said: "It's two fingers to the British taxpayer. It shows the depths of the problem we have in global banking. They believe they are above the law and above the taxpayer and they need bringing back down to earth."

The executives' pay was revealed under the Project Merlin deal agreed with the Government.

The banks had agreed to exercise restraint on bonuses in the deal, which was meant to draw a line under outrage about their rewards.

The bank, which is 83 per cent owned by the taxpayer, did not reveal how many investment bankers shared the £256m payout. Key employees outside the investment bank received £119m.

The total of £375m for "code" staff amounts to an average of £1.2m for each of the employees included under new disclosure rules.

But individual pay would have varied wildly, with some workers earning less than the average and top investment bankers earning much more.

However, the average payment for the "code" staff, whose jobs have a bearing on the bank's risk, was about half the £2.2m earned by equivalentemployees at Barclays.

RBS had already revealed last year that Stephen Hester, the chief executive would earn up to £7.7m for 2010, including £4.5m of shares at current value, which will pay out according to performance.

If the non-board bankers' pay had been calculated according to Mr Hester's formula their numbers would have been higher.

Mr Hester's long-term share payouts were given in total, whereas only two-thirds of theirs were given on the assumption they would not pay out in full.

In total, Ms Alemany could earn about £6.8m for the year.

Mr Hester and his team did not lead RBS when the bank was bailed out by the government in October 2008. He is dismantling the empire built by his predecessor, Sir Fred Goodwin.

RBS lost £1.7bn in 2010, after losses of £3.6bn in 2009 and £35bn in 2008.

In the annual report, Mr Hester said his plan to sell assets and allow the government to sell its stake without making a loss was ahead of schedule.

The chief executive also pointed out that the bank made an operating profit last year.

Before restructuring costs, disposals, the government's bonus tax, and other one-off items, operating profit was £1.9bn.

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