At $10.4m a year, ANZ boss beats rivals in pay stakes

ANZ chief executive Mike Smith remains the top paid bank boss in Australia, after higher bonus payments pushed his remuneration to $10.4 million.

ANZ chief executive Mike Smith remains the top paid bank boss in Australia, after higher bonus payments pushed his remuneration to $10.4 million.

Despite being the country's third-largest bank, ANZ spent more on its top executive than bigger rivals Westpac and Commonwealth Bank this year, its annual report showed on Friday.

Mr Smith's pay package rose 3.2 per cent, up from $10.1 million last year, due to higher short-term bonus payments.

Of the total payment, $5.3 million was paid in cash and $5.1 million in deferred shares.

In addition, shareholders will also be asked to approve a bonus of up to $3.15 million to Mr Smith at the company's annual meeting next month.

The payment to Mr Smith confirms he was the best paid boss among the big four banks for the second year running.

It exceeds the $7.8 million payment to CBA's Ian Narev and the $9.2 million to Westpac's Gail Kelly, who took a pay cut of $500,000.

National Australia Bank has not yet disclosed how much it paid chief executive Cameron Clyne, but he received less than Mr Smith last year, and Mr Clyne has said his bonus was cut this year.

The hefty payment to British-born Mr Smith, who was head-hunted to lead ANZ's aggressive expansion into Asia, follows a year in which bank shareholders received bumper returns on their investments.

ANZ's profit in the year to September jumped 11 per cent to $6.5 billion, and Mr Smith said it would not be scaling back its push into Asia despite scepticism from some analysts.

In the bank's annual report, Mr Smith signalled he expected further growth this year, and reaffirmed targets to cut costs and shareholder returns by 2016. "Our super regional strategy is a long-term strategy and our momentum in 2013 means we are confident ANZ can continue to perform well in the coming years," he wrote.

ANZ's notice of meeting, also lodged on Friday, said shareholders would be voting next month on the granting of up to $3.15 million in long-term bonus payments to Mr Smith.

Whether he qualifies for the performance rights will depend on ANZ's total shareholder returns compared with its industry rivals and the broader ASX 50 over the next three years.

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