RBS Banker Salaries to \'Double\' to Avoid EU Bonus Caps IBTimes UK

The Royal Bank of Scotland's salary and bonus practices have come under close scrutiny again, after a raft of media reports revealed that the embattled lender is doubling executive salaries, despite paying out billions of taxpayers money on financial scandal fines.

RBS received a taxpayer funded £45bn (€54bn, $73bn) bailout in 2008, which eventually led it to be 81% owned by the government, but according to media reports, a "handful of executives at the taxpayer bank's markets division could see their monthly wage almost double to compensate for the new [European Union bonus] rules".

The European Commission has installed a new limit on bankers' bonuses, which means extra pay will be capped at 200% of their salary.

The law, which comes into force from January 2014 and will apply to bonuses paid in 2015, is intended to discourage irresponsible risk-taking and curb the bonus driven culture in banking following the financial crisis.

The European Banking Authority has yet to flesh out all the detail of the new rules, but the organisation said the cap would be applied to "risk-takers".

The UK government attempted to prevent the law passing in March, but was unsuccessful.

However, RBS said in a statement that "there are no plans to implement widespread base salary increases across our markets division and we are not consulting with shareholders on any such moves."

Meanwhile, other media reports seemed to confirm a number of high level bankers were having double the amount of their base salaries this year but that "this is part of their annual pay renegotiations but it was not a move in response to new EU directives."

Although basic salaries have dropped since 2008, the average annual pay per head at the markets business stands at £108,000, which is based upon pay in the first three quarters of 2013.

In 2009, RBS bankers were, on average, earning £174,000 a year.

RBS told IBTimes UK that "no decisions have been taken on 2013 pay and any speculation is premature."

"Variable pay has been reformed dramatically at RBS and is now a fraction of what it was before the crisis."