More Lloyds shares sold as chief exec’s £11.5m pay comes under fire

Antonio Horta-Osario
Antonio Horta-Osario

The UK Treasury has sold another tranche of shares in taxpayer-backed Lloyds Banking Group, which it bailout at the height of the financial crisis in 2008.

The latest sale takes the UK taxpayer’s stake in the Edinburgh-based bank to below 20 per cent and sees £500m returned to the nation’s coffers.

A total of round £10bn has now been recouped of the £20bn used to keep Lloyds afloat eight years ago when taxpayers took a 40 per cent stake in the group.

UK Financial Investments, which manages the UK Governement’s concerns in the bailed out banks, has been steadily reducing the government’s stake in Lloyds since December.

Meanwhile, Pirc, an independent group that offers advice to institutional investors with assets of more than £1.5 trillion, has told Lloyds shareholders that they should oppose the lender’s remuneration report at its annual meeting on Thursday.

Pirc said the company’s remuneration policy, which includes a pay package for 2014 worth £11.5 for its chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio is “highly excessive”.

However, the bank’s chairman Lord Blackwell defended the award, saying it was in recognition of performance in a year when the bank unveiled a £1.8 billion profit despite an uplift in PPI mis-selling charges.

Mr Horta-Osorio said he was accepting his pay plan which will pay out £7m in shares alongside a bonus of £800,000 and salary of £1m, with the remainder made up of fixed share awards, pension and other benefits.

Lloyds has not commented on Pirc’s intervention, which also included advice to oppose the re-election of Lord Blackwell because he also chairs another FTSE-350 company, Interserve.

Lord Blackwell has said he will step down as chairman of Interserve no later than its 2016 annual meeting.

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