CORRECTION: DBS CEO Piyush Gupta gets a pay bump


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Correction: This item provided an incorrect comparison year for the percentage change of Piyush Gupta’s remuneration. His remuneration increased 12 percent from 2019, and 48 percent from 2020. 

Piyush Gupta, the CEO of Southeast Asia’s largest bank, DBS, received a pay bump of around 48 percent from 2020 to a total of S$13.58 million in 2021.

In 2020, Gupta’s remuneration fell 24 percent due to pressures related to the pandemic. Compared with pre-pandemic, his remuneration rose 12 percent from S$12.1 million for 2019, with Gupta likely remaining Asia’s highest paid bank CEO.

“Since becoming CEO in November 2009, Piyush Gupta has transformed DBS into a leading bank with multiple engines of growth, solid digital leadership, and a dynamic culture that embraces innovation. This led DBS to deliver its best year ever in 2021, not only in terms of financial performance but also across a range of key scorecard goals,” the bank said in its annual report, published Wednesday.

Record Net Profit

The bank reported a record net profit of S$6.8 billion for 2021, up 44 percent from 2020.

DBS said its performance came despite a difficult operating environment.

“With Covid-19 in the second year, global interest rates remained at rock-bottom levels. China idiosyncratic risks also increased, following moves by the government to temper exuberance in the property market. Against this backdrop, DBS’ sterling financial performance underlined the strength of our broad-based franchise and the success of multi-year transformation efforts,” the annual report said.

Inorganic Growth

Gupta’s remuneration included salary of S$1.2 million, a cash bonus of S$5.17 million, S$7.14 million from the share plan and S$75,462 from non-cash items, such as a car and driver, the report said.

In the letter from the chairman and CEO, included in the annual report, Gupta and Non-Executive Chairman Peter Seah stated: “We believe the inorganic transactions and investments we made over the last 12 months will strengthen our franchise and position us well to ride the crest of a structurally rising Asia. We expect payoff from these initiatives will materialise in the short to medium-term. Looking further out, given that technological changes could fundamentally reshape the financial system, we must do what we can to be ahead of the curve.”

During 2021, DBS took over Lakshmi Vilas Bank (LVB) in India and agreed to acquire Citigroup’s Taiwan consumer banking business, the letter noted. In addition, DBS acquired a 13 percent stake in China’s Shenzhen Rural Commercial Bank (SZRCB), becoming its largest single shareholder.

The Hong Kong branch also received approval to offer investment products to Greater Bay Area customers under the wealth management connect program, the letter noted.