Sir Fred 'considering' taking pension cut


Sir Fred 'considering' taking pension cut
The former RBS boss Sir Fred Goodwin is reported to be considering taking a voluntary cut in his pension provision.

The current Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive, Sir Philip Hampton, has revealed he has talked with his predecessor Sir Fred on cutting back his payout.

"I've asked Sir Fred if he would consider a voluntary reduction and he's told me he's thinking about that," Sir Philip told Sky News.

However, the telephone call between the two knights occurred a number of weeks ago.

Since then Sir Fred has been silent on the issue.

"He told me he would think about it and, as of today, I think he’s still thinking but I haven't had a direct answer back from Fred," Sir Philip said.

RBS shareholders are set to meet today and vote on the remuneration package offered to Sir Fred – which the bank, as well as the government through its investment arm UK Financial Investments (UKFI), is trying to challenge.

UKFI – which oversees the government's 70 per cent stake in RBS - is expected to lodge a protest vote, but the result of the vote is in no way binding. However, it will send out a clear message to Sir Fred.

John Kingman, chief executive of UKFI, said: "UKFI has decided that it cannot formally vote in favour of the resolution to approve the Remuneration Report.

"This is for one reason only. The Remuneration Report discloses, as a matter of record, the decision of former members of the RBS board to treat Sir Fred Goodwin and Johnny Cameron as retiring early at the request of RBS, so enabling them to take undiscounted pensions.

"That decision was taken in the past.

"Nevertheless, UKFI is not satisfied that it was in the company's interest – and therefore UKFI's as a value-oriented shareholder. UKFI therefore cannot vote in favour of it."

Lawyers for both UKFI and RBS are currently still trying to find a loophole to cut Sir Fred out of his pension.

In a speech today, to shareholders in Edinburgh, Sir Philip is set to announce: "I do understand that many shareholders will wish to vote against or abstain on the advisory vote on the Remuneration Report to register their strong disapproval of the pension arrangements of our former chief executive.

"I think there is little more that can be said here that isn't already in the public domain. Clearly, this is an issue of significant political and public concern and we all fully understand that.

"Legal advice is being taken about whether the decision that was reached can be revisited. Whatever the outcome of that advice, it is in no-one's interest, least of all RBS Group's, for this issue to go on and on."

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