Apr 06, 2016 06:19 PM

Heads of Big Four Banks Saw Pay Slashed in Half Last Year

(Beijing) – Top executives at China's Big Four banks took a pay cut of about half last year – losing between 500,000 yuan and 600,000 yuan – as part of government efforts to rein in the salaries for top figures at state-owned companies.

Jiang Jianqing, president of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), had his pay cut by 52 percent to 546,800 yuan last year, according to a financial report for last year that the bank released on March 31.

Jiang, who has led the country's largest bank by assets since 2005, had already seen his pay fall from nearly 2 million yuan in 2013 to 1.14 million yuan the next year.

The cuts are part of central government efforts to address growing public dissatisfaction over what many see as excessively high salaries for top executives at state-owned institutions, particularly large banks and powerful companies.

The Politburo, the Communist Party's 25-member decision-making body, decided in September 2014 to overhaul the remuneration systems used by state-owned firms to better reflect the size of the companies and their performance.

The party said that top executives at big state-owned companies, including banks such as ICBC and Agricultural Bank of China, should have their pay cut by about 60 percent and capped at below 900,000 yuan in 2015.

Agricultural Bank said in its financial report released on April 1 that Liu Shiyu, who served as its president from December 2014 to January this year, earned 566,900 yuan last year – 47 percent of what his predecessor received in 2014. The bank said that pay cuts involving top executives were implemented according to the central government's wishes.

Liu became head of the securities regulator in February.

The listed arms of two other big state banks, Bank of China and China Construction Bank also announced similar pay cuts for their top executives last year.

Bank of China's president, Tian Liguo, had his salary cut by nearly half to 617,900 yuan. Wang Hongzhang, president of Construction Bank had a salary last year of 598,800 yuan, compared to 1.15 million yuan a year earlier.

The drastic pay cuts have however raised concerns among some analysts, who say state banks could lose talent to private banks, where salaries can be higher.

Shao Ping, president of the private Pingan Bank, earned 1 million yuan less last year than in 2014, but still pocketed 7.1 million yuan in 2015, the bank's financial report shows.

China Merchants Bank held the pay for its president Tian Huiyu steady at 4.5 million yuan last year.

(Rewritten by Li Rongde)

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