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Home > Regulation > UK Regulation

Revealed: Sants’ salary more than five times US equivalent

Highest paid employee at US regulator SEC earns one fifth of FSA chief’s £800,000 salary.

By Donia O'Loughlin | Published Jun 28, 2012 | comments

Financial Services Authority chief executive Hector Sants took home more than five times the salary of the highest paid regulatory staff in the US Securities and Exchange Commission in 2011, adding further weight to complaints over the level of pay at the regulator, FTAdviser can reveal.

In its annual report, the FSA revealed that chief executive Hector Sants received total pay of £806,810 in 2011, including bonuses. Mr Sants was paid £115,000 in bonus in 2011 and has received £143,750 in bonuses over the 15-month period to 31 March 2012.

Data obtained by FTAdviser reveal that salaries for the SEC’s 124 senior officers ranged between $189,996 (£122,153) to $239,871 (£154,151) in the fiscal year 2011.

Senior officers of the Securities and Exchange Commission are the highest paid staff at the US regulator, in many cases because of additional pay to cover travel.

Salaries paid by the SEC in the fiscal year 2011 to its four commissioners, who are one step higher in seniority than the senior officers, were $155,500 (£99,842). The chairman at the SEC earned $165,300 (£106,510) last year.

In terms of performance bonuses, the SEC told FTAdviser that in the fiscal year 2011, which ended 30 September 2011, 1,750 SEC employees received bonuses with the average being $1,436 (£923).

Using federal employees and retirement data, FTAdviser also learned that federal employees receive a maximum of 5 per cent per year from their employer in pension contributions. In context, this means that last year a senior officer received pension remuneration of £7,705.

Using these figures to generate a representative example, this means that the highest paid employee at the SEC would receive an annual salary including remuneration of, on average, £162,781.

This is slightly less than 20 per cent of chief executive of Mr Sant’s salary, according to the FSA annual report.

Lord Adair Turner, FSA chairman, earned a total of £500,276, of which £22,274 and £52,200 respectively were benefits and pension remuneration.

A spokesperson for the FSA previously defended the salaries to FTAdviser, stating that its executive team are not awarded a final salary pension schemes and that it has to compete with a highly-paid sector for staff

At the time, a spokesperson for the FSA told FTAdviser: “These aren’t civil service roles and we aren’t funded by the taxpayer. We are having to compete with financial services to recruit top staff.”

However, the SEC disagrees that regulators need to receive high salaries to recruit.

John Nester, spokesman for the SEC, said: “While it’s true that the companies we regulate pay [staff] more, we are fortunate that many highly educated and experienced people come to the SEC for the opportunity to protect investors, facilitate capital formation and promote fair and efficient markets.”

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