WORRIED about the cost of living crisis? Then I have a solution for you - become CEO of a building society, or to be more specific, Skipton Building Society, whose new boss is Stuart Haire, a former banker at HSBC where he was CEO of Wealth and Personal Banking for the UK.

According to booklets accompanying information surrounding the recent AGM which was sent sent to members, Mr Haire, who is new to the mutual sector, is being paid a salary of £690,000 and receiving a pension allowance of 10 per cent of salary, a car allowance of £15,000 per year, private medical insurance, life cover and group income protection. He has also been granted use of Society-owned accommodation close to the head office provided by the Society.

If that was not enough, SBS is also paying his compensation of £1,147,686 - yes, you read that right - for leaving HSBC, comprised of £802,686 for delayed awards and £345,000 for incentive opportunity lost. That's what I call nice work if you can get it. Indeed, even the Prime Minister of Britain only gets just over £158,000 a year the last time I heard.

As regards HSBC, which is closing its Skipton branch in June, you might be interested to learn that it was fined £63.9 million by the UK's financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, for 'unacceptable failings' of its anti-money laundering systems. The bank did not dispute the findings and agreed to settle, resulting in the fine being cut from £91 million.

And in 2012 the bank was fined £1.4 billion in America after an investigation by the US Department of Justice for failing to prevent money laundering by Mexican drug cartels.

Best perhaps to put your money under the mattress!


J Horne,



Skipton Building Society Group response: “Pay is set by a Remuneration Committee comprising of independent Non-Executive Directors who are supported by external professional advisers. The pay of all executive directors is benchmarked against the marketplace to ensure it is appropriate in comparison to our competitors, and sufficient to attract and retain people with the skill and capability needed to run the complex and diversified Skipton Group, which includes the UK’s largest estate agency and over 17,700 employees. Last year, Skipton gave over £100m to members through above market average savings rates, £11.5m to colleagues in increased pay and cost of living support, and over £1.3m to community groups and charities.”

In addition the group stated that Mr Haire's rewards that are referenced in the reader’s letter are deferred payments that span beyond five years.