RBS under fire as pay for Katie Murray set at £400,000 less than her predecessor

If Katie Murray, the newly appointed CFO of the world’s seventh largest interbank FX dealer, meets all her targets, she is set to earn £3.1 million per year, whereas her predecessor, Ewan Stevenson, was on a package of £3.5 million per year

London, Canary Wharf from Thames

In today’s semi-egalitarian business society, the notion that senior executives, middle managers and operations professionals should be remunerated according to their abilities is commonly, and quite rightly, accepted.

This week, however, RBS, the world’s seventh largest interbank FX dealer by market share, and which raised the NatWest flag at RBS’ 250 Bishopsgate head office just over a year ago, marking an era of markets-related activity going forward, has come under significant fire from organizations and professionals in London for suggesting that it may pay its newly appointed female Chief Financial Officer some £400,000 less than her male predecessor if she manages to hit all targets.

Katie Murray, CFO, RBS

Ms Murray, appointed as CFO two days ago, marked RBS out as Britain’s first major bank to have women in its top two executive positions after the current chief executive steps down after 2019.

Prior to her appointment, Ms Murray was deputy to RBS’s previous CFO Ewen Stevenson, and has been carrying out the job on an interim basis since his departure for HSBC in October.

The Hong Kong-born accountant was previously Finance Director for Old Mutual Emerging Markets, and spent 13 years at audit firm KPMG. Her accountancy background contrasts with her predecessor, Mr Stevenson, a former Credit Suisse banker, as well as William Chalmers, a Morgan Stanley veteran who was also considered for the role.

The bank confirmed yesterday to various media in London that Ms Murray will receive a £750,000 and a fixed share allowance of £750,000 per year, plus long-term performance-based awards up to a maximum of 200 per cent of her salary. The salary is less than the £800,000 per year Mr Stevenson received when he did the job between 2014 and October this year.

Today, this gap was noticed, and a series of gender equality campaigners have now stated that Ms Murray should be remunerated at the same level as her predecessor for doing the same job.

Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society this morning told British press “Women consistently find themselves undervalued compared to their male counterparts. RBS needs to be clear of any objective reason for the differences in pay and reward. At first glance she may have an equal pay claim.”

Looking at the full package, Ms Murray could earn £3.1million a year if she hits bonus targets, £400,000 less than predecessor Ewen Stevenson when all aspects of her remuneration are considered and compared to the package Mr Stevenson received.

RBS’s corporate banking head Alison Rose is seen as the most likely replacement for its chief executive Ross McEwan, meaning its two most senior jobs could both be held by women in just a year’s time. Last year, senior banker Jayne-Anne Gadhia warned that the Tier 1 bank had suffered from a ‘very male culture’ which was ‘win-lose’ when she worked there from 2001 to 2007.

According to aggregated data researched by executive search firms in London, men at Barclays’ investment bank arm were paid 48% more than women last year, and HSBC had the biggest gap of any large business, with a gap of 59%.

At RBS, the difference was 37%. It is clear, however, that banks have been reducing pay for newer senior staff regardless of gender, and cutting their pension benefits in a crackdown on excess.

As has always been the case, it is actually more financially lucrative to be a trader rather than a senior executive within a Tier 1 bank.

RBS has been recently opening itself back up to the OTC derivatives sector, its investment banking division, NatWest Markets having met with FinanceFeeds several times in London recently, demonstrating a pragmatic approach to extending prime brokerage credit to OTC counterparties, contrary to the view of many Tier 1 FX dealers in their reluctance to take credit risk on non-bank OTC markets.

Two years ago, FinanceFeeds looked into the remuneration opportunities within Tier 1 financial institutions in London and New York and found that a trader in a non-directorship position, with no board membership and who works on a city desk is likely to earn an average of £221,000 in London, with bonuses taking this up to over £1 million, therefore considering that senior executives can really only consider their base salary plus fringe benefits such as private health insurance and a company car and pension scheme to be an absolute given, traders work for the bonus and are not bound by all of the reporting and public declaration responsibilities that C level executives are.

Yes, it’s a different animal, however there is no evidence to say that a gender gap in pay exists among traders, despite women being very much under-represented in the trading desks and dealing rooms of the Tier 1 market makers.


Read this next

Retail FX

Scope Markets launches unleveraged trading

“Whilst our traditional contract for difference (CFD) products continue to prove incredibly popular, the Invest account is unleveraged and only allows ‘long’ positions to be taken, a combination that significantly reduces the risk of capital losses.”


Unlocking Profit Potential: Earn Returns with DecodeEX Experience Bonus!

DecodeEX, the innovative brokerage subsidiary of Decode Global, announced its experience bonus campaign, offering every user the opportunity to maximize their strategic trading potential with up to $10,000 in experience bonus. 

Market News

Pretiorates’ Thoughts 28 – Precious metals and base metals out of control

Ten days ago we mentioned in Pretiorates’ Thoughts 26: Chapter 2 should start with Precious Metals.

Retail FX

Webull launches discount brokerage in Malaysia

“Making investing more inclusive and accessible to all, Webull Malaysia brings best-in-class tools and information to empower investors of all levels with knowledge and skills to help them make better investment decisions and achieve their investment goals.”

Digital Assets

Hidden Road adds OKX’s Nitro Spreads into prime brokerage

“Hidden Road continually seeks to increase market access and capital efficiency through expanded prime brokerage offerings. Integrating OKX’s Nitro Spreads product builds upon this philosophy by extending our counterparties’ ability to execute risk-managed arbitrage strategies.”


Dev Release 31: BlockDAG’s SHA-3 Upgrades Propel Crypto Mining Innovation as Miner Sales Approach 5800 Units

Learn about BlockDAG’s 31st Development Release, which includes advanced SHA-3 updates and a significant increase in miner sales, driving advancements.


BlockDAG Dominates 2024 Crypto Trends: Surpasses $28M in Presales Amid Strategic Partnerships

Explore BlockDAG, Shiba Inu, and Kaspa Killer’s rise in 2024’s crypto market, focusing on BlockDAG’s $28M presales, strategic partnerships, and innovative technology.


BlockDAG’s $30 by 2030 Valuation Prediction and Roadmap Reveal Gains Traction From Filecoin and XLM Investors

Discover why BDAG’s $30 price prediction by 2030 outshines Filecoin Investors’ hopes and XLM’s recent surge with a booming presale and clear roadmap.


BlockDAG Captures $28 Million in Presale, Drawing Investors Away from Ethereum and Bitcoin

Explore how BlockDAG’s revamped dashboard led to a $28 million presale boost, while Ethereum sees a downturn and Bitcoin struggles with hash rate reductions.