Home Business Big Business Big banks skewered by record rebellion

Big banks skewered by record rebellion

"You have destroyed billions and billions of value."

Jack Derwin

Digital Journalist, Your Money

Both NAB and ANZ received first strikes against their remuneration reports on Wednesday, as irate shareholders vented their frustrations.

88.11 per cent of NAB shareholders voted against the board’s executive pay, making it the largest-ever protest vote in corporate history.

The result far eclipsed even the 64 per cent of negative votes Westpac received last week.

Ken Henry, who was broadly criticised for the tone he struck during his appearance at a royal commission public hearing, was far more conciliatory to shareholders, conceding the bank “got it wrong”.

“I’m certainly very disappointed. Am I embarrassed? Yes, I am embarrassed,” he told media following the AGM.

Angry shareholders took the opportunity to vent their frustrations at the bank’s failings.

“The board and senior management are failed capitalists. You have destroyed billions and billions of value and that can’t continue,” one disgruntled member told the NAB board, to the audience’s applause.

While the result wasn’t as dramatic at ANZ’s AGM in Perth, it did receive a 34 per cent ‘against’ vote, ensuring it will be its first strike as well.

The NAB and ANZ results don’t bode well for the banks more broadly as their stock valuations continue to struggle, TMS Capital’s Ben Clark told Trading Day. 

“The market is pricing in a recession into the banks’ share prices at the moment,” the portfolio manager said. “It did that last time and it was wrong in hindsight and it was a great buying opportunity.”

“The interesting thing will be the next 12 to 18 months if the market is right or again has it gone too far?”

Speaking to TICKY, Your Money chief business reporter Leo Shanahan said shareholders were waiting for the banks with “baseball bats” and that it would have been very difficult for executives to quell the investor anger.

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