DBS chief’s pay jumps 23% to $10.3 million

DBS Group Holdings chief executive Piyush Gupta reaped a 23 per cent increase in pay to $10.3 million last year, according to the bank's annual report yesterday.

In 2016, he took home $8.4 million - down 23 per cent from 2015 after South-east Asia's biggest bank saw its profit slip because of higher charges for bad debts from its oil and gas loans.

Mr Gupta's best year was 2015, when he took home $10.9 million.

DBS posted a record $11.9 billion in income last year while net profit increased 4 per cent to $4.39 billion, also a record.

Mr Gupta told shareholders in the report that a return on equity (ROE) of 13 per cent is a doable target after levels of 9.7 in 2017 and 10.1 per cent in 2016.

DBS' return on equity is typically lower than its smaller peers.

OCBC Bank recorded 11.2 per cent last year, up from 10 per cent in 2016.

United Overseas Bank was 10.2 per cent, unchanged from 2016.

UOB's annual report, also out yesterday, noted that CEO Wee Ee Cheong reaped an 11 per cent pay rise to $9.4 million for 2017. He and his family own about 18 per cent of UOB.

ROE numbers are a key focus of Mr Gupta, who said DBS has been around 11 per cent since 2010, similar to the preceding decade.

He sees improvement coming from three factors - higher interest rates, reduction in capital requirement and lower costs stemming from digitisation.- THE STRAITS TIMES