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CS reignites bonus debate

Bank Credit Suisse has rekindled debate on executive pay by awarding its managers shares worth over SFr3 billion ($2.85 billion).

CEO Brady Dougan led the way among the 400 executives and managers by receiving shares worth around SFr71 million under a five-year bonus plan.

Credit Suisse unveiled new compensation rules last year allowing the company to hold bonuses for three to four years and potentially take back pay if investments failed to perform over a prolonged period.

Credit Suisse said the new compensation structure is consistent with the G20 guidelines, which include a ban on multiyear bonus guarantees.

But the bonuses are likely to feed a passionate debate on executive compensation in Switzerland, where people will vote in a referendum on a proposal to cap managers' pay.

The proposal seeks to introduce annual approval by shareholders of the salaries of directors and managers of listed companies and also aims to ban special termination or entry payments for top managers.

Credit Suisse made it through the financial crisis without state aid despite a hefty loss in 2008 and returned to a handsome profit in 2009, unlike Swiss rival UBS, which had to be bailed out by the government and still lost money last year.

UBS paid its investment banking co-chief over SFr13 million, mainly in bonuses, in 2009 after the bank booked a pre-tax loss of SFr6 billion, against a loss of SFr34 billion the previous year.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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