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Crombie hands back his £500,000 bonus

Standard Life group chief executive Sandy Crombie has won plaudits from IFAs for turning down a £500,000 performance bonus.

In a rare piece of positive PR over Standard Life’s executive remuneration packages, Crombie has been praised by some of his fiercest past critics.

Crombie refused the bonus, believing it would have been inappropriate after what has been a difficult 12 months for the life office. The year saw Standard undergo extensive restructuring and confirm plans to demutualise.

Standard’s old long-term incentive scheme, which was introduced in 2000, provided reward for the performance of individual divisions, not taking into account overall group performance.

The bulk of Crombie’s bonus was due to the success of Standard Life Investments, which he oversaw at launch.

Standard Life group finance director John Hylands has also ditched his bonus.

Crombie is on a basic salary of over £600,000 and Hylands gets more than £370,000. The pair’s £80,000-plus pay rises at the end of 2003 caused a storm of protest from policyholders who had endured five bonus cuts in the preceding two years.

Syndaxi Financial Plann-ing director Robert Reid says: “It shows that Crombie recognises the importance of how the external world views Standard Life.”

Hargreaves Lansdown head of pensions research Tom McPhail says: “Standard Life executives have been slated in recent years, some of it justified, but they deserve credit for this decision.”

Standard Life remuneration committee chairman Gerry Grimstone says: “The 2000 Standard Life long-term incentive plan measured various specified performance criteria but took no account of the company’s overall business performance.”

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