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High pay in the financial sector

As the financial sector is known for its high pay excesses, we show the pay of the highest-paid director of each company in these guides.

Ethical Consumer considers any remuneration over £1 million to be excessive, so companies awarding pay of £1 million or over (in bold below) lose half a mark in the Anti-Social Finance category.

A comparison of the 2016 and 2019 figures shows that many have risen, and Citibank (which is, notably, an American company) threatens to rise out of the stratosphere. But quite a few have also fallen. We asked Luke Hildyard of the High Pay Centre for his take on this. He said:

“Top pay, in general, has been pretty flat over the past decade, though it remains extremely high by longer-term historical standards.”

He further pointed out that there have been some specific downward pressures on pay in the financial sector in the UK and EU, including increased reporting requirements and greater shareholder control, the EU cap on bonuses, and the Financial Conduct Authority’s Asset Management Market Review which scrutinized costs charged by the investment industry.

However, as Hildyard put it:

“pay in the financial services sector is still extraordinarily high.”

High pay in the boardroom plays a key part in reinforcing rising inequality globally and provides a stark illustration of why the predatory and self-interested business models we see around us need radical reform.

Why anyone would not feel adequately remunerated with the kind of still-relatively-generous sums available at the lowest ten banks will remain a mystery to most people.


If you are looking to bank or invest more ethically, see our guides to ethical bank accounts, ethical savings, ethical investments, and ethical business banking


Pay of the highest paid directors at each bank

Bank Top pay 2019 Top pay 2016
Citibank £19.5m £11m
Tesco £6.4m £4.2m
Banco Santander (Cater Allen) £6.1m £5.3m
Barclays £5.9m £4.2m
Lloyds (Bank of Scotland, Halifax, Scottish Widows, Birmingham Midshires) £5.1m £5.5m
HSBC (First Direct, M&S money) £4.9m £5.6m
Virgin Money (including Clydesdale Bank, Yorkshire Bank) £3.4m £2m
Paragon £2.8m £1.9m
Co-op Bank £2.6m £4.5m
Danske Bank £2.5m £1.7m
RBS Group (RBS, Coutts, NatWest, Ulster) £2m £3.5m
Oaknorth £1.8m -
J Sainsbury £1.7m £2.3m
OneSavings Bank (Kent Reliance) £1.6m £910K
TSB Bank £1.4m £3.7m
Nationwide BS £1.3m £3.4m
Yorkshire BS (Chelsea BS, Norwich and Peterborough BS) £971K £701K
Coventry BS £861K £970K
Bank of Ireland (Post Office) £854K £843K
Metro Bank £829K £1.3m
Skipton BS £829K £921K
ICICI Bank £720K £472K
Shawbrook £715K £3.5m
Leeds BS £659K £350K
West Bromwich BS £659K £636K
Al Rayan £656K £253K
Newcastle BS £463K £314K
Svenska Handelsbanken £412K £384K
Principality £394K £535K
Cumberland £358K £275K
Triodos £312K £265K
Charity Bank £151K £140K
Ecology £123K £96K
Monzo £117K -
Revolut - -
Starling - -

In this table, '-' means that the figure could not be found.

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