Banking salaries in South Africa: CEOs get massive pay hike

 ·25 Apr 2016

South Africa’s biggest banks have released their annual reports for the 2015 financial year, revealing which company chief executive took home the biggest paycheque in the sector.

Nedbank’s CEO, Mike Brown, who has long dominated the retail banking sector in terms of total pay, remains the highest-paid in the sector, with total remuneration hitting R36.4 million for the year.

A payout of R22.7 million for long-term incentives exercised by Capitec CEO Gerrie Fourie took his total payout to the second biggest among banking executives at the “big five” banks.

According to Capitec’s report – which is for its 2016 financial year – total executive pay amounted to R101 million, or 3% of the group’s R3.2 billion headline earnings.

This was in-line, but slightly up from the 2% payout of R62 million in 2015, where headline earnings were R2.5 billion.

FirstRand CEO Sizwe Nxasana was paid the third highest amount for the group’s 2015 financial year (ended June 2015), with a total payout of R33.4 million. FNB CEO, Jacques Cilliers was paid R16.6 million for the year.

Standard Bank rising

With two joint CEOs, Standard Bank technically holds the top spot for chief executive pay among retail banks, with both Sim Tshabalala and Ben Kruger taking home packages above R30 million in 2015.

Notably, both CEOs saw massive pay hikes in the pervious financial year, with Kruger’s salary jumping 62% and Tshabalala’s going up by 28%.

2014 saw a reduction in CEO pay for the duo due to losses at the bank’s London unit – however remuneration has been “normalised” for 2015, it said.

Absa’s CEO, Maria Ramos – who was once the second-highest paid after Brown – has now become one of the lowest-paid in the sector. However, the CEO still earned R28.2 million in 2015, and remains one of the highest paid executives in the country.

Bank CEO 2014
Change (%)
Nedbank Mike Brown 35 000 36 425 4.1%
Capitec Gerrie Fourie 10 300 35 597 245.6%
FirstRand Sizwe Nxasana 29 488 33 423 13.3%
Standard Bank Sim Tshabalala 24 278 30 989 27.6%
Standard Bank Ben Kruger 19 010 30 785 61.9%
Absa Maria Ramos 25 700 28 209 9.8%
Average 23 963 32 571 35.9%

SA Banking CEO salaries 2015 v 2014

SA Banking CEO salaries 2015

CEOs vs staff

Looking at the breakdown of salaries across the financial groups, CEOs earn on average, 88 times more than their employees – up significantly from the gap of 58 times in 2014.

However this is skewed slightly by Capitec’s Gerrie Fourie’s large payday in the group’s 2016 financial year.

Capitec spent R2.4 billion on staff salaries in 2016, which among its 11,440 employees translates to R210,000 per employee. Kruger’s R35.6 million salary is a whopping 170 times larger.

In 2014/15, the group’s pay gap was the lowest, with Fourie’s total salary (R10.3 million) ‘only’ 50 times greater than the average employee.

With a spend of R20.7 billion on 38,500 employees, FirstRand workers earn the highest average at R536,300. Standard Bank had the highest employee spend at R28 billion in 2015, but that is spread among a larger group of employees (over 54,300).

The average salary in the banking sector was R443,550. Overall, the average banking employee’s salary increased by just 3.5% in 2015, compared to the average CEO’s total salary, which increased by 36% with all incentives included.

The tables below details how CEO salaries compare to the average employee at each of the banks.

Bank Staff Total Staff Pay Average Pay CEO Pay Gap
Capitec 11 440 R2.40 billion R209 965 R35.6 million 170
Standard Bank 54 361 R28.0 billion R514 486 R61.8 million* 120
Nedbank 31 312 R14.3 billion R456 566 R36.4 million 80
FirstRand 38 542 R20.7 billion R536 324 R33.4 million 62
Absa 41 771 R20.9 billion R500 395 R28.2 million 56

* Sim Tshabalala and Ben Kruger salaries combined

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