OCBC chief executive's pay up 60%

OCBC chief executive's pay up 60%

OCBC bumped up the pay of chief executive Samuel Tsien by 60 per cent last year, but its chairman's remuneration took a hit.

Mr Tsien took home $8.82 million for the 12 months to Dec 31, up from the $5.5 million earned in 2012. The bulk of the increase came from bonuses of $4.5 million, more than double the $1.8 million bonus in 2012, according to OCBC's annual report out yesterday. His salary of $1.2 million last year was a touch above the $1.1 million in 2012. He was also granted shares and options worth about $3 million.

Mr Tsien, who became CEO in 2012, is seen as being instrumental in the bank's push into Greater China. The strategy has taken firmer shape with the bank's prized acquisition of Hong Kong's Wing Hang Bank. The $6.23 billion buyout agreement - OCBC's biggest takeover - was announced on Tuesday.

Even though OCBC's core net profit for the 2013 financial year fell by 2 per cent to $2.77 billion, it logged a record net interest income of $3.9 billion, up 4 per cent from 2012. OCBC said in the annual report that it "adopts a performance-driven approach to compensation".

The hike in Mr Tsien's pay brings it closer to the market rate for the top executive position at local banks, although he still lags his peers. DBS CEO Piyush Gupta and UOB's Mr Wee Ee Cheong both took home $9.2 million last year, as the two lenders reported record results.

Mr Gupta's pay was about $9.33 million in 2012 while Mr Wee's remuneration came in at between $8.75 million and $9 million. DBS and UOB released the details in their annual reports out earlier this week.

OCBC chairman Cheong Choong Kong, meanwhile, was the best paid chairman of the three banks. His total remuneration of $2.26 million comprised $2.1 million in salary and fees, with perks like club and car benefits and shares awarded making up the rest. It was still a 12.4 per cent drop from the $2.58 million Dr Cheong was paid in 2012.

DBS chairman Peter Seah received $1.84 million last year, while UOB chairman emeritus Wee Cho Yaw earned about $1 million. UOB chairman Hsieh Fu Hua, who took on the position in April last year, brought home $619,000.

This article was published on April 5 in The Straits Times.

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