According to the 2008 bank size ranking, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) is the largest bank in the world, followed by Bank of America, HSBC, China Construction Bank and the Bank of China. As you can see, out of the top 5, 3 banks are from China.
By logic, the CEOs heading these 5 top banks should be getting the biggest salaries of all.
Well, not really.
In fact, a recent study conducted by Reuters show revealed startling, contrasting salary figures between the top banks, with bank executives from Asia, particularly China, the main losers.
Let’s start with Jiang Jianqing, the CEO of ICBC. Despite heading the largest and one of the most successful banks around, Jiang received a total pay of $234,700 in year 2008. If you think that’s a lot, the $234,700 is actually less than 2% compared to what Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JPMorgan Chase earned. Dimon was paid an exuberant amount of $19.6 million in the same year.
In summary, Jiang Jainqing was paid 83 times less than Jamie Dimon to run a bank almost twice the size of the latter’s. Also, the $234,700 compensation is only slightly better than the average salary of the best paid job in the US, $192,780, received by anesthesiologists.
The heads of the other two banks from China also received similar salary figure to ICBC’s, averaging at $230,000 per year. In contrast, other banks in the US and Europe pay staggering salary figures such as HSBC (Michael Geoghegan – $2.8 million), Royal Bank of Canada (Gordon Nixon – $9.5 million) and Wells Fargo ($13,8 million). Even Vikram Pandit, the CEO of the one of the worst performing banks in recent years, Citibank, got away with $10.8 million.
Outside the United States, the chief of Banco Santander, Alfredo Saenz got the highest salary of all with total earnings of $13.7 million.
Yes, sometimes Maths and logic fail you.