Credit Suisse chairman defends bonuses

Credit Suisse chairman Hans-Ulrich Doerig has defended the big bank’s payment policy two days before investors gather for a general assembly.

This content was published on April 28, 2010

In an interview with the Geneva-based Le Temps newspaper published on Wednesday, Doerig said Credit Suisse’s bonuses and compensation programme have allowed “for excellent results compared with the competition”.

“Many people don’t consider the issue of bonus pay in its entirety,” he told the newspaper. “I find it hard to understand the criticism.”

Over the weekend the centre-right Radical Party recommended Credit Suisse investors reject the bank’s remuneration report while the chairman of the Swiss Bankers Association said having banks regulate their own payment policies does not work.

A SFr71 million ($65.35 million) options package for Credit Suisse CEO Brady Dougan has raised eyebrows. The pay plan was approved in 2005 before the financial meltdown.

Doerig said the banks’ payment scale sits in the middle compared with similar institutions.

“Our compensation programmes are designed to reward long-term benefits,” he said.

Parliament in June will vote on a taxation accord with the United States involving Credit Suisse’s main rival UBS. To rally support for the vote, the government plans to present on Wednesday a proposal to tax bonuses it deems excessive – more than SFr2 million.

The chairman said making a link between bonuses and the accord is “very political and very populist” and that rejecting the deal would be cause for concern, “not for Credit Suisse but for the damage to Switzerland’s image that such a refusal would cause abroad”.

"A no would mean, ‘Switzerland is unpredictable. It no longer fulfils its commitments’," Doerig said. "I’d be worried as a citizen, not as a banker.”

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