Bank of Montreal chief executive officer Darryl White saw his pay rise in the most recent fiscal year on the strength of a higher annual bonus and more pension-related compensation even as the bank missed some of its key financial targets.
Mr. White’s total compensation rose to just less than $11.1-million from $10.85-million in the previous fiscal year, the bank reported in its annual proxy statement to shareholders. The gains from his bonus and pension compensation were offset by smaller stock and option awards – $5.87-million in the most recent year compared with $6.11-million in the year before.
Mr. White’s compensation follows the pattern at other big banks, which set their CEOs’ “target compensation” higher at the beginning of the year, but looked back at the final results and awarded less than the target.
For the fiscal year, which began in November, 2019, BMO set Mr. White’s “target pay” at $10.5-million, up from $10-million the year before. It awarded Mr. White $9.265-million in “total direct compensation,” more than $1.2-million less than the target and about $200,000 less than the year prior.
BMO, like other banks, does not consider pension compensation part of “direct” pay. The pension amount BMO and other companies report in the disclosure required by regulators isn’t cash placed in an account. It’s an estimate of how much executives’ pensions have grown – or, in rare cases, shrunk – based on their earnings in the past year.
Mr. White’s disclosed pension compensation was $1.82-million in the past year, up from $1.39-million the year before.
His cash bonus of $2.39-million was slightly more than the $2.35-million the year prior.
In its proxy, BMO said its board considered the bank’s performance, including key measures tied to its strategy and its three-year total shareholder return. While BMO beat its target for revenue growth and met its goal for managing costs, it fell short of its return-on-equity and earnings-per-share (EPS) growth numbers after EPS declined year over year.
The bank came in fifth out of six banks in total shareholder return over the three-year period.
BMO’s board said those negative effects were partly offset by executives like Mr. White exceeding targets in strategic performance. All told, the bank’s formula for variable compensation paid out 87 per cent of the targets.
Monday’s numbers represent the third full year of compensation for Mr. White as CEO. His predecessor, William Downe, made $10.5-million in direct compensation in the year ended in October, 2017.
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