At the Annual General Meeting to be held on 26 April 2019, Ethos recommends to oppose all proposals related to the remuneration of the board of directors and the executive management of Credit Suisse. The proposed increase in the executive management’s variable remuneration is excessive in light of the bank’s financial results.
The variable remuneration of the 12 members of Credit Suisse’s executive management included in the 2018 remuneration report submitted to shareholder approval is CHF 64 million (up 56% on 2017). The board argues that the management has overachieved the objectives set in 2015 and successfully completed the three-year restructuring plan. The board of directors also points out that the bank posted its first profit since 2014.
Ethos however considers that, despite these first positive results since the beginning of the restructuring, the payment of bonuses that are close to their maximum level is not justified for the following reasons:
- Credit Suisse's market cap at the end of 2018 was CHF 27.6 billion, down 40% on 2017 to one of its lowest levels since 2004.
- The total shareholder return (TSR) of the Credit Suisse share is among the lowest of major international banks, both in 2018 and over the 2016-2018 period. The TSR between 2016 and 2018 was -40% compared to -8% for the 19 banks included in Credit Suisse’s peer group.
- The overall variable remuneration increased by 49% and 58% respectively for the CEO and on average for the other members of the executive management. At the same time, the total variable remuneration of all employees remained stable (CHF 3.2 billion). The 1000 most highly paid employees ("key risk takers") received almost 30% of the annual bonus pool, while they represent only 2.4% of the beneficiaries.
- The remuneration of the chairman of the board is CHF 4.7 million, almost twice the average remuneration of the chairmen of the Swiss Market Index (SMI) companies.
In light of all the above, Ethos recommends shareholders to reject the advisory vote on the remuneration report (item 1.1), the remuneration of the board of directors for the period until the next AGM (item 7.1), the variable remuneration of the executive management for the year 2018 (item 7.2.1), the fixed remuneration of the executive management for 2019 (item 7.2.2) and the allocation of shares under the 2019-2021 long-term plan (item 7.2.3).