RBS Chairman 'Declines' A Bonus He Likely Wouldn't Have Gotten Anyway

, along with other media outlets, is reporting that RBS Chairman Sir Philip Hampton has declined his bonus for 2011. He would have been due $2.2 million (£1.4 million) as part of the compensation package he recieved when he joined the bank in 2009.

However, it is not clear if Hampton would even have been eligible for the award had he been willing to accept it.

As The Guardian reports, Hampton “had not meet the performance criteria attached to [the shares] when he was first awarded them when he joined the bank in 2009.”

A spokesman for the bank further undermined the voluntary nature of the decision with this statement: “Sir Philip Hampton will not receive the 5.17m shares he was awarded in 2009 when he joined RBS.”

You can spin yourself in circles here, but there is a distinct ‘chicken/egg’, ‘you’re fired/you can’t fire me I quit’ quality to the whole story.

Regardless of veracity of Hampton’s attempt to display humility, the move is an indication that RBS is attempting to respond to the controversy surrounding the earlier announcement that CEO Steven Hester would receive a $1.2 million (£963,000) equity bonus for 2011.

However, in moving to rein in their chairman’s bonus, RBS may only increase the pressure on their CEO to decline his on performance-based pay. Public outcry at the payout has been intense and the leader of the opposition Ed Miliband has called on Prime Minister David Cameron to block the bonus at the shareholder meeting in April. The British Government currently owns approximately 67% of RBS.

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