Pension payouts for top bosses tumble in face of investor ire

Companies scale back contributions as threat of shareholder revolt forces rethink

Stephen Hester, the chief executive of RSA, the London-based insurance group behind the More Than brand, was last year handed a total pay and benefits package of more than £4m. The 58-year-old received a basic salary of more than £1m, a bonus of £800,000 and a longer-term incentive payout of nearly £2.2m. He was given a car and driver, worth £64,000. And an extra £302,000 to help him “save for retirement”.

That level of pension contribution – 30% of basic salary, usually paid in cash – is far from unusual in top company boardrooms. Many directors get more. But the cash handouts are fast becoming the focus of shareholder anger, as investors increasingly question why the best-paid bosses get far higher contributions than workers.

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