Prudential chief defends £7.8m pay

Tidjane Thiam has defended the £7.8m pay award handed to him last year ahead of Prudential's AGM in London next week. The 50-year-old said the controversial package – which includes a £2m bonus, long-term incentives worth about £4.4m as well as a £1m annual salary and other benefits – reflected the insurer's strong share price performance.

The award compares with £4.7m in 2011, and became public in April just days after Mr Thiam received an embarrassing censure from the Financial Services Authority over his handling of the Pru's failed $35.5bn (£23bn) deal for AIA.

"My remuneration is decided by a committee – I do not choose my own level of pay, as much as I might like to," he joked.

"The board didn't just decide to double my pay. We were paid in shares in 2009 and these have doubled in value. It would be presumptuous to try and guess what our shareholders will do... I can only focus on my job, which is running the company."

Prudential geared up for the shareholder meeting by posting record funds under management across its M&G unit. The company said its asset manager now controls £238.4bn, helped by £2.4bn of net inflows. Elsewhere, new business profits rose 5 per cent to £563m, boosted by strong growth across its core Asian business.

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