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ANZ investors approve $10m CEO pay packet


Shareholders have backed ANZ boss Mike Smith's $10 million-plus pay packet, despite some investors labelling it excessive.

Mr Smith dodged waiting media on Wednesday after shareholders overwhelmingly approved his pay rise to $10.1 million in 2012, including $5.2 million in cash and $4.95 million worth of shares.

He is believed to be the highest paid Australian chief executive.

But about five per cent of shareholders voted against ANZ's 2012 remuneration report, including the Australian Shareholders' Association which branded Mr Smith's pay packet as an "excessive level of remuneration".

Spokesman John Campbell said Mr Smith's pay was 100 times more than the average ANZ employee's pay packet of $99,000 and noted he would this year make a net gain of $15 million through the vesting of long-term performance rights.

"Overall the remuneration structure is excessively generous," Mr Campbell told the bank's annual general meeting in Perth on Tuesday.

Still, shareholders gave the nod to him receiving $3.1 million in long-term performance rights.

His base salary of $3.5 million in the year to September 30 was unchanged from the previous year, but short-term cash incentives rose to $1.9 million, from $1.75 million in the previous year.

Long-term shareholder Kokfoo Chang said the bank's share price did not compare to the Commonwealth Bank and questioned whether Mr Smith would continue to perform if he was not granted performance rights.

"I thought when he joined the bank he must have been quite happy with the remuneration," Mr Chang told the meeting.

Despite shareholder concerns about Mr Smith's pay, ANZ's remuneration report was provisionally approved by 95 per cent of shareholder votes.

Chairman John Morschel defended Mr Smith's pay packet as "perfectly reasonable", based on a global analysis of companies.

"I understand shareholders' concern that it is a lot of money but it's what global banking senior executives are being paid today and the last thing we want to do is risk losing Mr Smith to an overseas competitor," he said.

Mr Smith took home a total of $19 million in fiscal 2011/12 after receiving $13.9 million in long-term share based payments awarded between 2007 and 2010, according to calculations by the Australian Financial Review.

After the meeting Mr Morschel brushed off concerns about perceived confusion with pay reports and said all of the details about Mr Smith's pay were clearly indicated in the annual report.

"It's all there. If you take the trouble to read our remuneration report you'll find all of the data that's necessary."

Mr Morschel also predicted that local and global economic conditions would remain soft in 2013, with political uncertainty adding to concerns.

"If consumer confidence increases, there'll be no reason for rates to drop. If it maintains the same way that it is and the Australian dollar is as strong as it is then probably there is an argument," he said.

He also added that the Commonwealth Bank's buyout of Aussie Home loans would not affect ANZ's strategy.