A U.K. corporate governance advisory group has recommended that investors in HSBC Holdings PLC vote against its pay policies over concern that a senior executive got a $12.9 million bonus.

Pensions and Investment Research Consultants, or Pirc, said in a circular to members that it recommends opposing the remuneration report at the global banking giant's May 28 shareholder meeting.

A bonus award to Stuart Gulliver, who heads HSBC's investment banking unit, stirred Pirc's concern that the payment was "excessive." Pirc also said it recommends investors abstain from voting to reelect Chairman Stephen Green who combines executive duties with the role of chairman, which Pirc called "inappropriate."

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