HSBC and Standard Chartered said their top executives would not receive cash bonuses this year and would donate part of their salaries to charities supporting victims of the coronavirus pandemic.
HSBC said its chairman, Mark Tucker, would donate roughly £1.5m — his entire fee for 2020 — to charities supporting “healthcare workers and vulnerable people” in the UK and Hong Kong.
Chief executive Noel Quinn and chief financial officer Ewen Stevenson will also donate one quarter of their salary this year, equivalent to about £160,000 and £93,000, respectively.
The pair will also waive their cash bonuses this year, which would have been worth about £1.4m and £706,000, respectively.
The move comes as highly paid bank executives come under pressure to forgo some of their remuneration, at a time when many families and businesses are struggling with extreme economic hardship and the threat of unemployment.
Lloyds also said its chief executive, António Horta-Osório, would not receive a bonus this year to show “solidarity with the communities in which [the bank] operates”. The bank’s other executives will not receive a bonus either.
Unlike executives at rival banks, Mr Horta-Osório did not commit to donating part of his salary to charity. However, he will not receive any bonus whatsoever, whereas his counterparts are only forgoing the cash element of their entitlements.
Last week the Bank of England said it expected Britain’s largest banks to refrain from paying cash bonuses as it forced them to withhold dividends following a tense stand-off between the industry and its top regulator.
Mr Quinn announced the pay moves in an internal memo to the bank’s staff, seen by the Financial Times, in which he invited employees to contact him if “there is more you think we can do”.
Standard Chartered also said in a statement that its top executives would donate part of their salaries to a fund set up by the bank to provide assistance to people affected by coronavirus.
Bill Winters, chief executive, will give away half of his salary for the eight months until the end of the year, or roughly £825,000, according to a person briefed on the arrangements.
Andy Halford, chief financial officer, will also make a “significant donation”, the bank said, while the bank’s chairman and other members of the management team will make “personal donations”.
Neither Mr Winters — who received a cash bonus of £1.25m last year — nor Mr Halford will receive any such payment this year.
Standard Chartered also noted that none of its employees had been made redundant because of Covid-19 and said it had not furloughed any of its staff.
“Our resilience means we can focus our efforts on supporting our clients and communities — both now, and through the longer-term renewal once this pandemic has subsided,” Mr Winters wrote in a statement.
Last month, HSBC said that it would delay the vast majority of redundancies related to a big restructuring unveiled earlier this year, which would have involved the bank slashing 35,000 jobs over the next three years.
Top executives at Barclays and RBS have already announced that they will donate part of their salaries while not receiving bonuses this year.
However, RBS is pressing ahead with redundancies related to the restructuring of its investment bank.
Get alerts on Bank bonuses when a new story is published