INVESTORS in Royal Bank of Scotland have been urged to vote against chief executive Ross McEwan’s latest annual pay package at its forthcoming annual meeting, amid estimates his salary is 46 times the average employee’s pay at the institution.

Mr McEwan received total remuneration of nearly £3.6 million for 2018, a year which saw the bank record a second annual profit and pay its first dividend since being bailed out by taxpayers at the height of the global financial crisis.

The New Zealander was paid a salary of £1m, received a fixed share allowance worth £1m, and netted a long-term incentive award of £1.1m, as well other benefits and pension contributions, according to the bank’s annual report for 2018.

However, shareholder advisory group PIRC recommended yesterday that investors oppose a resolution seeking approval for the bank’s remuneration report at its AGM, which will be held at its Gogarburn headquarters on April 25. It branded the total variable pay received by Mr McEwan as “excessive”.

PIRC said: “The changes in CEO pay over the last five years are not considered in line with [the] company’s TSR (total shareholder return) performance over the same period.”

While PIRC noted that the variable pay received by Mr McEwan in terms of the LTIP awarded to him in 2018 is “considered acceptable”, it said the award of a fixed share allowance worth 100% of his salary is “inappropriate”.

The report added: “The 2018 LTIP was granted at 157.5% of salary which is considered acceptable. The CEO’s total variable pay stands at approximately 211.1% which is considered excessive as it is over the recommended limit of 200% of salary.”

PIRC said: “The ratio of CEO to average employee has been estimated and is found [to be] unacceptable at 46:1.

“An oppose vote is recommended.”