Lloyds Banking Group Plc's Antonio Horta- Osorio supplanted HSBC Holdings Plc's Stuart Gulliver as the best-paid British bank boss in 2014.
Horta-Osorio, chief executive officer of partially taxpayer-owned Lloyds, saw his total compensation increase by 54 percent to 11.5 million pounds ($17.4 million) for 2014. Gulliver, the head of HSBC, a bank almost twice as big by market capitalization, had a 5 percent pay cut to 7.6 million pounds ($11.6 million.)
Horta-Osorio, 51, unveiled Lloyds's first dividend since the financial crisis after shoring up its balance sheet and returning the lender to profitability. Though the U.K. has cut its shareholding in Lloyds to 24 percent, the bank's pay policies still draw similar scrutiny to that of taxpayer-owned Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, whose CEO makes one-seventh as much as Horta-Osorio.
"People will be rightly taken aback by the huge scale of the bonuses being paid -- especially when Lloyds continues to be part-owned by the taxpayer," Cathy Jamieson, an opposition Labour Party financial spokeswoman, said in a statement.
Horta-Osorio's compensation included a long-term incentive plan awarded in 2012, which he wasn't able to access until this year and was dependent on meeting performance criteria. Lloyds's board approved the award after the stock almost tripled over the period, compared with an average increase of 31 percent for a group of U.K. lenders, the bank said in a statement on Feb. 27.
Horta-Osorio said he would keep all of his shares until the government "significantly" reduces its stake in the lender. The state is gradually selling shares in Lloyds before a general election on May 7.
Unlike Lloyds, RBS remains unprofitable seven years after it required a 45.5 billion-pound bailout from taxpayers and is still 80 percent owned by the U.K. government.
Ross McEwan, 57, was paid 1.4 million pounds for his first full year after replacing Stephen Hester as CEO. That amount includes his salary, pension and other benefits. He won't get a bonus and agreed to pay back a 1 million-pound allowance.
HSBC cut the size of Gulliver's bonus and awards for other executives after the bank was fined for manipulating global currency markets. Total variable pay at the lender was cut to $3.7 billion from $3.9 billion in 2013.
Barclays CEO Antony Jenkins, 53, was awarded 5.5 million pounds in total compensation, taking his first bonus since he replaced Robert Diamond in 2012. He was paid 1.6 million pounds in 2013.
Standard Chartered Plc, the bank undertaking one of its biggest management overhauls to help reverse faltering earnings, said outgoing CEO Peter Sands, 53, and the rest of its executive board won't receive a bonus in 2014. He got a salary of 1.1 million pounds, a share allowance of $1.1 million and pension and other benefits worth $1.1 million.