HSBC plans to hike base salaries for investment bankers

Steve Slater,Reuters
Wednesday 17 November 2010 01:00
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HSBC, europe's largest bank, is raising the basic pay of many senior investment bankers by as much as double.

The bank is following several European rivals that have significantly increased investment bankers' salaries this year as a clampdown on bonuses has put pressure on them to cut variable pay.

HSBC will award the pay increases to staff across its global banking and markets operations in leading financial centres including London, Hong Kong and New York. Some other senior staff are also expected to be affected, according to sources close to the company. HSBC declined to comment.

The salary rises, however, do not mean that the bankers' total pay will go up, as bonuses are expected to be cut.

The bank's incoming chief executive Stuart Gulliver said earlier this month he was concerned that Europe and Britain were going further than rivals elsewhere in clamping down on pay. He said it had become hard to hire staff in fast-growing countries such as China, Brazil and India, where HSBC is struggling to compete with local or US rivals for talent.

UK banks typically start determining bonus awards in November and December and finalise them at the end of the year. But City and European regulators are bringing in new rules that will require large proportions of bonuses to be deferred for and paid in shares in future.

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