Financial News

  • 7 May 2014, 18:23

ICAP Boss Gets Bonus Despite 55m Libor Fine

The chief executive of the City broking firm ICAP has had his annual bonus slashed in the wake of its 55m fine for its role in the Libor rate-rigging scandal.

Sky News has learnt Michael Spencer, a former Conservative Party treasurer, has been awarded a cash-and-shares bonus for last year worth approximately 700,000, a roughly 75% cut on his payout for 2012.

Mr Spencer's bonus will be publicly disclosed alongside ICAP's full-year results next week.

Some of the remuneration decisions were contained in a letter from Charles Gregson, ICAP's chairman, to the company's 10 biggest shareholders, a copy of which has been seen by Sky News.

Insiders said on Wednesday that ICAP's board had debated whether it was appropriate to award Mr Spencer a bonus for a year in which the company had been forced to pay substantial sums to financial regulators in the UK and US.

Directors had reached a consensus that paying a significantly-reduced bonus would reflect the seriousness with which the company viewed the regulatory breaches, but also acknowledged Mr Spencer had had no knowledge of or involvement in those breaches.

The response from leading ICAP shareholders to the bonus decisions is understood to have been broadly positive, although the detailed nature of Mr Gregson's explanation underlines the growing pressure on remuneration committees to justify potentially-controversial pay awards.

ICAP's regulatory settlement was announced last September, making it the fourth financial institution to be fined for its role in the Libor affair after Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS.

"The remuneration committee considered at length what impact the settlements with the (Commodity Futures Trading Commission in the US) and the (UK Financial Conduct Authority) should have on relevant senior management's compensation," the letter from Mr Gregson said.

"The executive directors' bonus pool for the year has been impacted by lower-than-budgeted trading profit and further reduced by the full amount of the exceptional costs relating to the Libor settlement."

The move to hit directors in the pocket by deducting Libor-related legal costs from their bonuses echoes similar moves at other affected firms.

A source close to ICAP said Mr Spencer, who is one of the City's wealthiest men, had not had an increase in his base salary of 360,000 for 15 years, and said his bonus had been reduced by a greater proportion than those of his colleagues.

The remuneration decisions disclosed in the letter also include roughly one-third reductions in the bonuses of two other senior ICAP executives, Iain Torrens and John Nixon.

Mr Nixon will receive $83,333 (49,100) as a monthly fee for consulting services that he will provide when he retires in March next year.

ICAP declined to comment on the letter on Wednesday.

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