LLOYDS is weighing up a plan whereby the cashing of any 2012 bonus for chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio could only be triggered by the taxpayers’ holding in the bank turning profitable.
The bank’s remuneration committee hopes such a move might defuse any public anger of a payout amid the industry mis-selling scandals such as of payment protection insurance (PPI) and inappropriate hedging products to small businesses.
Horta-Osorio is in line for up to £4.4 million in annual bonuses and long-term incentive plans (LTIPs) for 2012, partly due to a doubling of the bank’s share price last year.
But it is understood he might only get any bonus once Lloyds’s share price is above 73p – the average price at which the state bought into the bank during the 2008 financial crisis.
The closing price of the shares on Friday was 54.6p, meaning they would need to rise another third for the chief executive to benefit.
However, analysts said yesterday that Horta-Osorio’s bonus trigger could be lower – if you subtract the £2.5 billion Lloyds repaid to exit the asset protection scheme, the taxpayer buy-in price was 10p lower, at 63p.
The lower buy-in price is also the preferred figure of UK Financial Investments, the body that monitors taxpayer stakes in British banks, including the 39.2 per cent now held in Lloyds.
Horta-Osorio volunteered to give up any bonus for 2011 because of a two-month absence due to a stress-related illness. But Lloyds’ chairman Sir Win Bischoff refused to rule out the bank giving a bonus to the Portuguese boss for 2012 when the pair were recently grilled by MPs on the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards.
Bischoff merely said the bank was aware of public sensitivity on the issue, and would take this into account on any bonus payouts. Horta-Osorio told MPs it was not for him to comment, as the remuneration committee was involved in its deliberations.
It is believed that Lloyds is also considering clawing back some of the bonuses paid to past and present management to help cover the soaring costs to the bank of the PPI and interest rate swaps scandals.
However, no final decision on all these matters has yet been made.
Royal Bank of Scotland has already said it will claw back £300m to go towards its £391m regulatory fines for the part some of its traders and supervisors played in the Libor-rigging scandal.
A Lloyds spokesman declined to comment yesterday.