Australia’s big bank bosses (L-R): Shayne Elliott (ANZ), Brian Hartzer (Westpac), Matt Comyn (CBA) and Andrew Thorburn (NAB). (ABC News/file/Alistair Kroie)
Westpac’s top brass has joined the queue of big-bank executives lining up for very expensive haircuts on their pay following revelations of years of misconduct uncovered at the banking royal commission.
- Westpac chief executive Brian Hartzer saw his total pay cut by 9 per cent from $5.5 million to $4.9 million
- Westpac was the last of the big banks to detail the cuts that chief executives and group executives faced
- CBA announced a collective $100 million cut for 400 executives over 2017 and 2018
Westpac’s annual report revealed 2018 short-term bonuses were cut on average by 25 per cent, with one executive receiving a 50-per-cent cut.
In addition, the 2015 long-term bonuses were forfeited in full for the third consecutive year.
Westpac chief executive Brian Hartzer saw his total pay cut by 9 per cent from $5.5 million to $4.9 million.
His fixed pay was maintained at $2.7 million while he forfeited a possible $4.6 million in long-term bonuses.
The cash component of short-term variable reward was down 30 per cent to $1 million.
“Targeted downwards adjustments were applied to three group executives to reflect a range of matters relevant to the business for which they are responsible, including risk and remediation issues,” Westpac’s remuneration report said.
Westpac was the last of the big banks to detail the cuts that chief executives and group executives faced.
CBA announced a collective $100 million cut for 400 executives over 2017 and 2018.
Most CBA senior executives had their 2017 short-term bonuses wound back to zero, while chief executive Matt Comyn forfeited $1.9 million in bonuses in 2017 and $653,000 in 2018.
NAB announced cuts to its executive pay of up to 15 per cent.
For chief executive Andrew Thorburn “at target” remuneration is now $7.94 million, down $1 million — or 11 per cent — on last year.
Earlier this week, ANZ said its leaders would be stripped of about $2 million in bonuses.
Chief executive Shayne Elliott’s total pay fell from $6.2 million to $5.2 million.
CBA shareholders endorse pay
Despite a tough year CBA shareholders overwhelmingly endorsed the pay deal, avoiding the embarrassment of Australia’s biggest bank receiving another strike on its executive-remuneration report.
More than 90 per cent of shareholder proxies were cast in favour of adopting the report.
CBA received a then-record vote against its remuneration report and its “soft” bonus targets two years ago when more than half its shareholders voted the remuneration report down.
Commonwealth Bank chair Catherine Livingstone apologised for “failings of judgement and leadership”. (ABC News: Matt Roberts)
CBA chair Catherine Livingstone told shareholders at the bank’s AGM in Brisbane variable remuneration had been reduced and bonuses forfeited as a result of a review into accountability, governance and culture by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA).
Ms Livingstone again apologised to shareholders for “failings of judgement and leadership” at the top of Australia’s biggest bank.
“Your board and I regret these failings and we apologise without reservation — to our customers, to our staff, to you our shareholders, to our regulators and to the broader community,” Ms Livingstone said.
“Most confronting is that these shortcomings led to cases of poor customer experience and examples where we did not act in the best interests of our customers.”
Like other major banks, the CBA is in permanent damage control after shocking evidence from the financial services royal commission about fees charged with no service provided and cases of the estates of dead clients being charged premiums.
Ms Livingstone said the CBA board acknowledged the royal commission’s interim report and “criticism that too often a focus on profitability disadvantaged some customers”.
Over the past six years, Ms Livingstone said $270 million had been paid in compensation with $580 million spent improving business processes.
Chief executive Matt Comyn, who succeeded Ian Narev in April, said customer complaints would be resolved “quickly, fairly and compassionately”.
He said an external advisory panel has been established and would be chaired by Patricia Faulkner, the former deputy chair of the royal commission into family violence.
“What’s become clear in recent times is that there have been far too many instances where we have let our customers down. In the face of financial success, we grew complacent,” Mr Comyn told shareholders.