Standard Life Investments boss Keith Skeoch was Standard Life's top earner last year, his £4.2 million topping chief executive David Nish's £4.05m.

The group's executive pay bill was slashed from £13.3m to £8.5m as incentive schemes restarted and the group lost finance director Jackie Hunt, the annual accounts reveal.

Mr Nish's total pay-out fell from £5.56m, his salary rising £12,000 to £787,000, his bonus falling from £1.22m to £1.04m, and his incentive pay-outs dropping from £3.32m to £1.97m. Mr Skeoch saw a smaller total drop from £4.88m, his salary rise £11,000 to £436,000, his bonus up from £1.53m to £1.54m, and his long-term pay-out down from £2.8m to £2.1m. Ms Hunt, who earned a total £2.77m in 2012 but resigned in April 2013 and joined Prudential as UK chief executive in September, was paid a total of £228,000.

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Crawford Gillies, chairman of the remuneration committee, said it had carried out a review of long-term incentive arrangements and a new five-year plan would be put to shareholders for approval in May. It will maintain maximum awards as a percentage of salary at existing levels for current directors, but the three-year performance timescale will be extended with an additional two-year holding period. Awards will be linked to cumulative group operating profit and net flows performance. There will also be an increased shareholding requirement for directors. Mr Gillies said that during extensive consultations, investors were "particularly positive about the simplicity of the plan, the strong link between the performance measures and the group's strategy, and the longer holding period".