Malik Nasir Mahmood Aslam describes an unusual phenomenon
Highly paid CEOs of Pakistani banks private commercial banks are known for their financial inertia operating as just deposit takers and steadfastly eschewing devising financial strategies aimed at wider public welfare. Though from a strictly commercial point of view the banks may be acting properly but it may be kept in mind that they have a large footprint in socio-political field of Pakistan with many bankers having played an important role in official financial management of the country, the recent being of Shaukat Tarin who remained finance minister in the former PTI government and was known to have played a crucial role in negotiating terms of engagements with the IMF. In this context the claim of commercial blanks that they are simply dealing with commercial aspects of banking is not entirely justifiable and it is justly required of them to do something more in terms of providing welfare to the people.
Due to their limited yet self-enriching activity the commercial banks have earned phenomenal profits and it is reflected in the remuneration extended to their chief executive officers that are way above what similar public financial sector organisations could ever conceive of. The average salary of these executives come to rupees one crore that is still plenty of money in inflation-ridden Pakistan and appears highly unreasonable in a country that has one of the highest percentage of poverty-stricken people in the world. This income inequality is certainly unhealthy and is a clear sign of the growing unease between the social strata that is exacerbating the tension in the country that is now rated to be on the brink of an explosion.
It is often pointed out that despite being paid so highly the banks cannot automatically gain the fiduciary loyalty of their CEOs who always look forward to switch banks whenever better financial package is offered. It is well known in the banking industry that after bankers hit a certain level in one bank they regularly shift around bouncing from one to another. It is not consider odd for most CEOs to aspire to head not one bank but they wish to do head multiple banks in order to show their virtuosity in the industry and this tendency, instead of objected upon, is greatly appreciated. Interestingly, there is no yardstick for judging their performance and, if there is any, it is very well hidden. Apparently there is no methodology of calculating the return on the huge salaries paid to the CEOs by the commercial banks as this issue remains secret between the bank and its head.
The CEOs of commercial banks are a motley crowd coming from banking background but many have good deal of experience of working in foreign banks. It appears that Pakistani banks have shown a decisive tilt towards preferring personnel having experience of working in foreign banks as they have to deal with international banking quite frequently. Pakistani bankers yearn to find opening in foreign banks as they pave the way for higher openings for them in Pakistani banking industry and they are taking in with open arms. Most Pakistani bankers with experience of working in foreign bankers are usually offered high pay packages and are treated with due reverence as compared to their Pakistani colleagues.
Imran Maqbool is the President and CEO of Muslim Commercial Bank and his salary is Rs 133.52 million annually. Prior to joining MCB Bank in 2002, Maqbool was associated with local banking operations of Bank of America and CitiBank for more than seventeen years. He worked at senior management level positions in respective banks. During his association he remained MCB Country Head of MCB Bank’s Sri Lanka Operations, spearheading Islamic Banking and Special Asset Management Groups.
Mansoor Ali Khan is CEO of Bank Al Habib since 2016 and is paid a yearly salary of Rs 128.53 million. Earlier, he served at various positions in Bank of Credit & Commerce International from January 1985 to March 1992. Being a member of the Council of the Institute of Bankers Pakistan he has vast experience of commercial banking. He has been with Bank Al-Habib since 1994 and has worked in many position including Zonal Head and Group Head.
Shahid Sattar is the CEO of SAMBA Bank since 2013 and draws an annual salary of Rs. 121.57 million having vast experience in retail banking, consumer finance, branch banking, cash management, remittance business and corporate and Islamic banking and his career spans over 40 years. Prior to joining SAMBA he worked at UBL where he headed various divisions. He has earlier worked at MCB Bank and CitiBank with a stint at BCCI. Sattar has held directorships including at PICIC Asset Management, MNET Services Private Ltd, Bank Al-Bilad Investment Co and UBL Asset Management.
Syed Amir Ali was appointed CEO of Bank Islami in October 2018 at an annual salary of salary of Rs. 80.55 million. Before moving to Bank Islami, he headed the corporate and investment group of Meezan Bank. He has expertise in the fields of treasury, finance and investment and corporate banking. Besides affiliation with Meezan Bank and Bank Islami, he has worked at AF Ferguson Co as well as Shell.
Atif Bokhari CEO of Askari Bank earning an annual salary of Rs. 73.37 million is not new to the banking space or the CEO position. His career spans 32 long years began at the Bank of America in Pakistan. Later he moved to HBL as Head of Corporate and Investment Banking. In 2004, Bokhari got his big break and joined the CEO club by taking charge of the President and CEO position at UBL where he stayed till 2014. He then served as President and CEO of NIB Bank which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fullerton Financial Holdings in Singapore. Bokhari then served as Minister of State and Chairman of the Board of Investment at the prime minister’s office in 2021.
Rehmat Ali Hasni is currently serving as acting president of National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) with a yearly salary of Rs. 62.47 million but it is plenty of money for a semi-government organisation employee. Hasni will continue in his position until the government of Pakistan appoints someone else as the president of the bank after cabinet’s approval. Hasni has been affiliated with NBP for the last 12 years and has served as its senior executive vice president and group chief of various divisions. Before NBP, Hasni was the chairman of Pakistan Mortgage Refinance Company (PMRC), non-executive chairman of First Credit Investment Bank Limited, executive vice president and head of corporate finance at IGI Investment Bank Limited and chief operating officer of Lahore Stock Exchange. He has also served as board member of various organisations.
Muhtashim Ahmad Ashai joined Soneri Bank as its president and CEO in April 2020 at the annual salary of Rs. 65 million. Before Soneri, he was the president and CEO of MCB Islamic Bank Ltd. Ashai has a diversified experience in banking with a career spanning 27 years working at domestic and international financial institutions. He started his career at Fidelity Investment Bank, followed by working at ABN Amro Bank, working in Pakistan, Japan and China. He later joined MCB Bank where he was group head of corporate and international banking for more than 11 years. TW