UBS shareholders approve executive pay
Despite sharp criticism from a handful of UBS shareholders, a strong majority approved pay and bonuses for the executive of Switzerland’s largest bank at the company’s annual meeting in Zurich on Thursday.
Dissident shareholders, including the activist group Actares, slammed the pay handed out to executives in 2012— a total of 70.4 million francs, slightly above the sum from the previous year — despite the bank’s net loss of 2.5 billion francs for the year.
In 2011, the bank earned a profit of 4.1 billion francs.
But in a non-binding vote at Zurich’s Hallenstadion, 82.54 percent of shareholders approved a report on remuneration for the top brass of Switzerland’s biggest bank.
At the 2012 annual meeting, 40 percent of UBS shareholders voted against the executive pay plan.
UBS Chairman Axel Weber told the meeting that the bank had made changes to its compensation model to reward performance and to cap bonuses.
“We are not likely ever to come up with a perfect solution that all stakeholders will always perceive as the right one,” Weber told shareholders.
“But I am confident that we are striking the right balance between meeting the interests of our employees and ensuring a proper return for our shareholders.”
Weber said last year marked an effort to systematically resolve “issues of the past”, including dealing with the Libor rate-fixing scandal, which cost the bank 1.4 billion francs in penalties.
He acknowledged that this had overshadowed progress made by the bank in implementing its new strategy and positive results posted by many of UBS’s business divisions.
“We deeply regret the fact that certain people within UBS were involved in manipulating Libor rates,” Weber said.
“Such misconduct is totally unacceptable,” he said.
“It is also completely at odds with the values of UBS or with the high ethical standards that we require each individual employee to observe.”