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Swedbank’s ‘risk-takers’ take home SEK10m in bonuses

Out of nearly 24,000 employees at Swedbank at the end of last year, some 1,700 were classified as “risk-takers”, who between them received variable compensation and bonuses of nearly SEK10m.

The bank’s Report on Remuneration said there were 1,718 risk-takers in the group as of the end of December, compared with 22,173 other employees.

The bank defines risk-takers as being all employees holding senior management posts (in other words sitting on the group executive committee or managing each business area) as well as the majority of workers in “control functions” such as risk, compliance, legal, HR, finance and business control.

On top of this, traders, brokers and fund managers in the capital markets business are also classified in this way, as are members of the credit committees and miscellaneous “other employees who cannot be categorised in accordance with the above”.

Between them, the risk-takers took home more than SEK1bn in fixed compensation (in other words base pay, taxable benefits and quarterly commissions).

When it came to variable compensation, SEK1.4m was guaranteed, such as sign-on or stay-on bonuses or minimum variable pay, topped up by a further SEK8.5m.

But this compared with a variable compensation of SEK242.6m paid out to its risk-takers in 2009 on 2008 earnings.

For the other employees, variable compensation last year totalled SEK2.5m, of which SEK100,000 was guaranteed. The fixed compensation bill was SEK4.7bn.

Risk-takers receive 40% of any accrued salary in the first year after the year of accrual, while the remaining 60% “will be withheld by Swedbank and will be available to the risk-taker no earlier than three years later”, the bank stressed.

By comparison, for other employees the full whack of variable remuneration would be paid no “earlier than the year after the period which forms the basis for the calculation of the variable remuneration”.

Total severance pay during 2009 was SEK65m, split between 1,231 people, the bank added.

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