Shareholder group fights pay package for Baer's Collardi, again

Chief Executive Boris Collardi of Swiss private bank Julius Baer addresses a news conference to present the bank's full-year results in Zurich, Switzerland February 1, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

ZURICH (Reuters) - Julius Baer Chief Executive Officer Boris Collardi's 6.16 million-Swiss franc ($6.44 million) pay package has hit resistance, with a shareholder group announcing it will oppose the compensation at the April 13 annual general meeting. Actares, also known as Association of Shareholders for Sustainable Business, published its recommendation against Collardi's 2015 pay on its website on Friday. The Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger reported Actares' opposition on Saturday. Collardi's compensation has been an issue before, when in April 2013 nearly two-thirds of shareholders voted against the private bank’s executive pay plan for the previous year. That marked the first time investors had rejected a Swiss company's compensation proposals. [] Though the 2013 vote was non-binding, Julius Baer reduced Collardi's pay by 11 percent to 5.89 million francs in the following year, with the bank acknowledging that matters of compensation were of strategic and economic importance to all stakeholders. [] In Saturday's report, Actares director Roby Tschopp told Tages-Anzeiger it was opposing Collardi's pay now on grounds the non-fixed portion of his compensation was more than three times his base salary of 1.44 million francs. Tschopp said his group opposed compensation packages where the non-fixed portion exceeds the fixed portion. Actares would likely have supported pay for Collardi of around 3 million francs, he said. "But 6 million, that's not something we could tolerate," Tschopp told the newspaper, adding he was not optimistic about the success of his group's push this year because other shareholder groups such as ISS have recommended support for Baer's AGM proposals. Baer did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday. Collardi has been CEO since 2009. Earlier this year, two former Julius Baer bankers pleaded guilty to helping American clients dodge taxes, and U.S. prosecutors announced the bank would pay a settlement of $547 million. (Reporting by John Miller; editing by Andrew Roche)