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Ulster Bank chief is highest paid banker in Ireland after 66% wage rise

By Nick Webb

Published 26/04/2015

Jim Brown's salary, pension and other benefits, touched €1.63m (£1.16m)
Jim Brown's salary, pension and other benefits, touched €1.63m (£1.16m)

Ulster Bank chief executive Jim Brown saw his overall pay package jump by 66pc last year as the bank returned to profit for the first time since the financial crisis.

Brown's remuneration, which included salary, pension and other benefits, touched €1.63m (£1.16m) up from €979,000 a year earlier.

He is now by far the highest-paid chief executive of a high street bank in Ireland, as AIB's outgoing chief executive David Duffy had his salary capped at €500,000 and Bank of Ireland's Richie Boucher earned €843,000 last year (after waiving a €118,000 portion of his wage). PTSB chief executive Jeremy Masding is paid closer to €400,000.

This is well shy of some of the salaries paid to bankers during the boom. Last week former AIB head of Irish operations Donal Forde told the Banking Inquiry that his €1.4m salary was "silly" and "inordinate".

The Ulster Bank CEO and his executive team shared a total pay of €3.37m last year an increase of 46pc on 2013, when they received €2.3m.

"Performance-related bonuses are awarded on the basis of measuring annual performance against certain specified financial targets, which include both corporate performance objectives and key strategic objectives," according to the bank.

"The executive directors may also participate in the RBS executive share option and Sharesave schemes," banks added. "The highest paid director did not exercise any share options during the year."

Ulster Bank returned to profit last year, returning a €752m operating profit, compared with a €2.23bn adjusted loss in 2013. The turnaround in the bank's fortune coincided with an uplift in property assets, which the banks had written down sharply in the downturn.

It was also boosted by the improvement in the general economy, which lifted demand for financial products.

The future of Ulster Bank in Ireland had been under considerable scrutiny last year as its parent RBS battled to fixed up its balance sheet and shed non-core assets. However, following a lengthy strategic review RBS committed to keeping and growing Ulster Bank in the Republic.

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