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Saturday, 28 January 2012

There goes nothing

For all the pontificating by the press over the Chairman of RBS giving up his "bonus", they have all managed to overlook on the thing that paints a different picture: the facts.

Philip Hampton was offered options over 5,200,000 RBS shares when he became Chairman.  He hadn't asked for the option but it had been offered to a prior candidate so the government offered to Hampton too.  This was a somewhat unique arrangement because non-exec directors don't usually get a performance bonus, but never mind.

The important thing is that this was not an award of deferred shares but call options with a strike price of 28.2p.  That may have sounded like a good deal for Hampton at the time they were offered because the RBS share price was around 50p, so there was already 22p or so of upside built into the option price.

The trouble is that now the shares have (or could have) vested the RBS share price has dropped to 27.7p - making the options worth precisely nothing.

So it isn't such a big deal from Mr Hampton to walk away from them.

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