Via Financial Times

Standard Chartered has cut the pay packages of its top two executives by £440,000 in an attempt to quell investor unrest over the size of their pension allowances.

The emerging markets-focused bank said that Bill Winters, chief executive, had agreed to lower his pension allowance by half from next year, taking it from £474,000 to £237,000.

Andy Halford, the lender’s chief financial officer, will see his pension allowance fall by the same proportion, taking it from £294,000 to £147,000.

The Financial Times last month reported that Mr Winters was planning to accept the voluntary pay cut.

The move comes after Mr Winters ignited a firestorm of criticism in July when he used an interview with the FT to hit out at “immature and unhelpful” investors that had protested against his pension allowance.

StanChart has been holding discussions with investors over Mr Winters’ pay since the bank’s annual meeting in May, when almost 40 per cent of shareholders declined to back the lender’s remuneration policy. It was the biggest protest vote against a large British-based bank since 2014.

Following Mr Winters’ remarks in the interview, StanChart’s chairman José Viñals became involved in the negotiations with shareholders, according to people briefed on the discussions.

The London-based bank said on Friday that neither executive would receive an increase in the other components of their pay package to compensate them.

Christine Hodgson, chair of the remuneration committee, said: “I would like to thank Bill and Andy for their willingness to agree to these changes and to thank our shareholders and their representatives for engaging constructively.”

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Schroders, one of StanChart’s largest shareholders, said it was supportive of the changes.

“We are pleased that the company has listened to shareholders and are very supportive of this move which brings CEO and CFO pension arrangements into line with the broader workforce, consistent with emerging UK best practice,” said Daniel Veazey, head of corporate governance analysts at the fund manager.