LONDON - Most banks have increased basic salaries and cut bonuses for executives in response to calls for leaner compensation packages after the financial crisis, according to a survey by consultancy Mercer.
Four fifths of respondents in a survey of 61 banks and other financial services firms said they had made or plan to make changes to annual bonuses and short-term incentives.
Some 65 percent of banks had increased basic salaries, while 88 percent decreased the weighting of bonuses in their compensation mix, according to the study.
Banks were blamed for rewarding excessive risk-taking with generous bonuses and fostering a short-term culture, which led to the financial meltdown.
Only 41 percent of respondents said they had significantly limited or eliminated one-year bonus guarantees for executives, however, while 64 percent had done so for multi-year bonus guarantees.
Mercer said 57 percent of respondents said they already had bonus caps or limited their bonus pools and 42 percent had got rid of golden parachutes, or guaranteed payouts to executives if they were fired -- a practice shown as more common among insurers than banks.
American firms were leading on claw-back provisions, with 60 percent of U.S. firms putting the measure in place, well ahead of just 35 percent of respondents in Europe.
(Reporting by Cecilia Valente, Editing by Dan Lalor)