Want a top salary? Head up a UK, German or Swiss bank


Switzerland, Germany and the U.K. are home to Europe's best-paid bank CEOs, according to a new ranking that shows little correlation between executive pay and shareholder returns.

Anshu Jain, the joint head of Deutsche Bank, Germany's biggest bank by assets, clocked up total compensation of 10.0 million euros ($12.4 million) in 2013, according to the ranking compiled by SNL Financial, a financial information provider. This made Jain comfortably the highest-paid chief executive in 2013 out of any of Europe's 30 biggest banks by assets.

Anshu Jain, co-CEO of Deutsche Bank, was Europe's best-paid banking executive in 2013
Boris Roessler | AFP | Getty Images

Jain's co-CEO, Jürgen Fitschen, received 7.3 million euros of total pay, making him the sixth-best paid bank chief in Europe.

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SNL Financial noted that Jain and Fitschen's large pay packages came despite the fact that Deutsche posted low return on average equity (ROAE)—a key measures of corporate profitability—last year.

"Comfortably ahead in the number one spot is Deutsche Bank's Anshu Jain, who received a pay package amounting to 10.0 million euros in 2013, including a 6.1 million euro long-term incentive plan, despite the bank only recording a ROAE of 1.21 percent," said SNL's Lorenzo Spoerry and Rabia Arif, who compiled the rankings.

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Europe's second-best paid bank CEO in 2013 was Stuart Gulliver, who received 9.5 million euros last year for heading up the U.K.'s HSBC Holdings.

The third-best paid was Antonio Horta-Osorio of Lloyds Banking Group, which remains part-owned by the U.K. government since its bailout in 2008. Horta-Osorio was awarded 8.8 million euros.

Strikingly, Lloyds recorded a loss on ROAE of 1.89 percent, unlike HSBC, which earned ROAE in the high single figures— as did Swiss banks UBS and Credit Suisse, whose chief executives were respectively the fourth and fifth-highest paid in Europe last year.

Stephen Hester, formerly CEO of the U.K.'s other major state-supported bank, RBS, was Europe's seventh-highest remunerated banking boss. He earned an annualized 6.0 million euros—in a year in which the bank posted a staggering 12.38 percent loss on ROAE. However, SNL noted that many analysts felt Hester had performed well given his task of turning the bank around after its government bailout.

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Both Hester and Lloyds' Horta-Osório were paid more than the CEOs of France's two largest banks. BNP Paribas's Jean-Laurent Bonnafé and Société Générale's Frédéric Oudéa received 3.4 million euros and 2.7 million euros, respectively. BNP Paribas earned its shareholders returns of 5.84 percent, while Société Générale's earned 4.43 percent.

Despite the so-called Shareholder Spring of 2012, shareholder disputes over executive pay appear to have had little impact on bank chief's salaries—and neither has public opprobrium.

In April, Barclays CEO Antony Jenkins faced the prospect of a shareholder rebellion over proposed executive pay increase, but the discontent proved insufficient to prevent a vote in favor of the proposal. Jenkins waived his bonus for that year, and did not appear in SNL's list of 15 top-paid European bank CEOs.

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Despite resistance from the U.K., European Union lawmakers instigated regulations this year that placed a cap on variable pay in the banking sector. Critics of the move say that it will make European banks less attractive for globally mobile executives and that banks will respond by hiking fixed pay instead.

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