pounds 100,000 bonus for exchange chief

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The Independent Online
Michael Lawrence received pounds 422,000 in total remuneration from his first year as chief executive of the Stock Exchange, at a time when overall salaries and wages at the exchange declined.

The annual report published yesterday showed that Mr Lawrence received a salary of pounds 228,750 on top of which there was a pounds 100,000 bonus, benefits worth pounds 13,278 and pension contributions of pounds 79,875. Giles Vardey, markets development director at the exchange since 1992, received a bonus of pounds 75,000 on a salary of pounds 154,166.

The bonuses were paid against a background of a drop in income and operating surplus at the exchange on 1993-94. Income was pounds 16m down to pounds 191m, while operating surplus dropped to pounds 14m from pounds 17m. The chief executive's bonus is not linked to financial performance, but to the achievement of targets.

Members doubted that there would be any serious challenge to Mr Lawrence's bonus at the annual general meeting on 13 July. "This is not a big number for someone this senior. Most members themselves earn well above that level, and are therefore more likely to feel sympathy for him than anything else," a senior investment banker said.

Mr Lawrence gave a vigorous defence in the annual report of the Stock Exchange's position at the centre of the City's trading life. Without mentioning the rival fully automated exchange Tradepoint, which is about to begin operations in August, Mr Lawrence warned against fragmentation. "The apparent advantage of greater choice would be accompanied by increased regulation, reduced liquidity and increased costs for price formation and discovery," he said.

Although down on the previous year's record, new listings remained strong with 222 new companies joining the main market, raising pounds 7.2bn.