The chief executives of HSBC Holdings , Europe's biggest bank, and Asia-focused rival Standard Chartered are set to give their bonuses to charity, newspapers reported on Sunday, following a high-profile row over the sums paid to bankers.

Three British newspapers reported that HSBC chief Michael Geoghegan would accept his bonus but give it to several charities. HSBC declined to comment.

The Daily Telegraph also reported that Peter Sands, head of Standard Chartered, planned to donate his bonus to charity. A spokesman for the London-listed bank declined to comment.

The news follows moves by the heads of Barclays and bailed-out Lloyds Banking Group and Royal Bank of Scotland to waive their rights to a 2009 annual bonus.

There has been building anger over fat cat banker pay, which has become a major political issue in Britain in the run-up to an election expected in May, particularly with respect to banks rescued by taxpayers and still making losses as they emerge from the credit crisis.

The Sunday Telegraph cited sources at HSBC, who pointed out it had received no direct taxpayer money, had paid dividends throughout the financial crisis and should be allowed to make its own decision on how it pays its executives.

Geoghegan stands to be awarded a bonus of four times his basic salary of 1.1 million pounds ($1.68 million).

HSBC had also been discussing with investors a plan to increase base pay for its top executives, shareholders have told Reuters, but it has shelved plans to award Geoghegan a pay rise of more than a third, the FT reported last week.

HSBC will report full-year results on Monday while London-listed Standard Chartered is expected to post record profits of $5.1 billion next week.

(Reporting by Kate Holton and Caroline Copley; Editing by Leslie Adler)