Investec will pay up to £100 000 (R2.02m) to cover the personal security costs of each of its executive directors in SA due to concerns about the country’s rising crime levels, says a Business Day report.

During the bank’s AGM yesterday, questions were raised by shareholder activist group Just Share on a resolution that sought shareholder approval to amend directors’ remuneration policy so that the cost of personal security for executive directors in SA would no longer be deducted from their fixed pay.

The resolution, approved by 99.79% of shareholders during the AGM vote, means the security costs of the bank’s SA-based executive directors will now be borne by Investec.

Tracey Davies, executive director of Just Share, questioned Investec about the policy, asking whether it was reasonable to augment the remuneration of executive directors by covering their security costs when they are living in a country characterised by extreme income inequality and poverty.

Davies asked Investec chair Philip Hourquebie whether this would create a poor impression, but he referred the question to Henrietta Baldock, chair of the bank’s remuneration committee.

‘We don’t actually see that as an increase to executive directors’ fixed pay per se,’ said Baldock.

‘Unfortunately, the personal security arrangements are something which we feel we need to put in place for the executives based in SA given their high profile and given the number of other examples of high-profile business people and other people in SA being targeted.’

While the AGM did not specify exactly how much would be spent on security for Investec’s SA-based executive directors, the group later reportedly told Business Day it was budgeting up to £100 000 per executive director, without giving a time frame over which the money would be spent.

Full Business Day report