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OCBC chairman asked for lower fees in light of difficult economic environment

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Ooi Sang Kuang, OCBC Bank chairman, took a 26 per cent pay cut for 2016 as his fees fell by S$400,000 to S$1.4 million.

OOI Sang Kuang, OCBC Bank chairman, took a 26 per cent pay cut for 2016 as his fees fell by S$400,000 to S$1.4 million.

As a result of the lower chairman fee, Mr Ooi's total pay for 2016 was S$1.6 million, down from S$2.2 million in 2015, according to OCBC's 2016 annual report released on Thursday. It was the last of the three Singapore banks to publish their 2016 annual reports.

"Chairman volunteered to lower his chairman fees in view of the difficult economic environment ahead," said an OCBC Bank spokeswoman. The fees for the rest of the 11-member board remained unchanged.

Mr Ooi was the only bank chairman of the local banks to make the gesture.

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DBS chairman Peter Seah's 2016 pay was S$1.84 million, slightly down from S$1.87 million in 2015.

Hsieh Fu Hua, United Overseas Bank chairman, was the only one to enjoy a pay rise - his 2016 total was S$976,000, up from S$890,000 in 2015. Mr Hsieh's fees were S$955,000 in 2016, up from S$870,000 in 2015. The S$85,000 increase came from chairing the strategy committee which was set up last year.

OCBC chief executive Samuel Tsien took a 20 per cent pay cut to S$8.3 million from S$10.5 million in 2015. The lower pay came mainly from a smaller cash bonus of S4.3 million, down from S$5.5 million previously. Mr Tsien's salary of S$1.2 million was unchanged.

OCBC posted a net profit of S$3.5 billion, down 11 per cent for 2016, due to higher non-performing loans (NPL), largely from the oil and gas sector.

His counterparts at DBS Group Holdings and United Overseas Bank also saw lower pay as their banks were similarly hit by higher NPLs.

DBS chief executive Piyush Gupta took a 23 per cent pay cut to S$8.4 million in 2016 as the bank posted a net profit decline and NPLs rose more than expected. UOB chief executive Wee Ee Cheong's pay shrank by 8.7 per cent to S$8.4 million in 2016.

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