UK’s largest finance firms have handed board members 80% pay rise since 2009

LaToya Harding
·Contributor
·2 min read
STOKE-ON-TRENT, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 05: The Lloyds Bank logo is seen November 05, 2020 in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)
The largest increases were at Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L), where top non-executive directors are earning 257% more than in 2009. Photo: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Britain's biggest financial companies have given its board members a near-80% pay rise since 2009, new figures have shown.

According to data gathered by the Guardian, average pay for the three highest earning non-executive directors in each of the FTSE 100’s 17 financial firms rose from £90,700 in 2009 to £162,000 a decade later.

The largest increases were at Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L), where top non-executive directors are earning 257% more than in 2009; the London Stock Exchange Group (LSE.L), where there has been a 219% jump; and investment platform Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.L), where fees have climbed 170%.

Headhunters said the rise was partly due to tough regulations introduced after the financial crisis, which meant non-executive directors had to keep a closer eye on operations, and take greater responsibility when things went wrong, the Guardian said.

The pay rise also prompted shareholder advisers and high pay campaigners to call for greater transparency on director fees.

Data also revealed that the highest-paid non-executive directors sat through just five more committee and board meetings a year in 2019 than they did in 2009, with the median number of meetings coming in at 26 compared with 21 a decade earlier. The busiest among them attended 48 meetings last year.

“On balance, non-executive pay should require greater scrutiny, expecting the same rigour as executive pay and linked to demonstrable peer-group benchmarking in terms of fees, workload and meetings and items discussed,” said Francesco Navarrini, head of research at shareholder adviser PIRC.

Average pay for the three highest earning non-executive directors in each of the FTSE 100’s 17 financial firms rose from £90,700 in 2009 to £162,000 a decade later. Chart: The Guardian
Average pay for the three highest earning non-executive directors in each of the FTSE 100’s 17 financial firms rose from £90,700 in 2009 to £162,000 a decade later. Chart: The Guardian

Meanwhile, Luke Hildyard, the director of the High Pay Centre think tank, told the Guardian: “Paying out such lucrative sums for part-time work does create a damaging public perception of directorships and the way businesses are run, and potentially attracts people to the roles for the wrong reasons.”

“Pay for high earners, particularly in financial services, amounts to a significant cost for businesses, and there should probably be more detailed disclosure requirements on what companies are spending on those making six figures and upwards,” he added.

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