The boss of insurance titan Prudential has pocketed £493,000 in perks, including money for his mortgage.
Mike Wells was among eight executives handed an astonishing £1.7million in a benefits bonanza covering flights home and relocation costs.
He faced criticism last night as the Pru unveiled profits of £2.4billion for the six months to June 30, up 2per cent on a year earlier.
The boss of insurance titan Prudential Mike Wells has pocketed £493,000 in perks, including money for his mortgage
The eight shared the benefits, which came on top of a combined £36.4million in salaries, bonuses and pension and contributions.
The huge sums involved will raise questions over corporate governance at the Pru, which is splitting itself into two firms in a massive restructuring.
Luke Hildyard of the High Pay Centre said: ‘These kind of payments are gratuitously provocative. It’s ridiculous for executives to get half a million in benefits on top of a million pound salary. Shareholders should be taking a much harder line on this.’
Chief executive Wells was handed £493,000 in benefits by the British company in 2017 – close to half his annual salary of £1.1million, according to the annual report this year.
This included fees for medical insurance, a car and driver, and security arrangements. But Canadian-born Wells, 58, who owns a Tennessee cattle ranch and collects Gibson guitars, was also handed £340,000 for mortgage interest payments for a UK property which he bought when he moved for the job.
Prudential chief executive Mike Wells
- Prudential chief executive Mike Wells, 58, is married with two children
- He has been paid £23.6m in three years
- Wells owns 662,623 of Pru shares – worth £51.7m
- Mike Wells earned £8.7m last year
- Including £1.1m salary, £6.8m bonuses, £276,000 pension and £493,000 benefits
The father-of-two got another £37,000 to cover flights back home. Former Asia chief Tony Wilkey, 58, got almost as much as Wells, despite leaving in July. He was paid a salary of £490,000 for his seven months’ work and trousered benefits worth £456,000.
This included £148,000 housing costs, £24,000 for flights home and a £235,000 location allowance for being based in Hong Kong.
He was replaced by 52-year-old Nic Nicandrou, who was handed a £303,000 benefits package including £126,000 for temporary accommodation and £33,000 for tax and immigration advice.
And Anne Richards, 53, who is quitting as head of the Pru’s asset manager M&G Investments, to run rival Fidelity International was handed £153,000, which included £15,000 to cover travel costs from her home in Edinburgh to the London offices.
The payments, in the Pru’s annual report, make it one of the highest payers of executive benefits and come amid a row at Royal Mail over £6m paid to new chief executive Rico Back for changes to his employment contract.
The insurer is preparing to spin off its UK business, M&G Prudential, for £10bn to focus on its higher-growth US and Asian operations. M&G Prudential will seek to grow in Europe.
The Pru hiked its interim dividend by 8per cent to 15.67p per share, and the stock rose 3.7per cent or 64.5p to 1822p.
It said: ‘In 2017 Prudential reported record profits, successfully delivered on tough long-term financial objectives, lifted the dividend by 8per cent and continued to produce strong returns.’