The boss of the London Stock Exchange Group almost tripled his pay to £6.9m last year after the company’s $27bn (£19.5bn) takeover of financial data provider Refinitiv led to a surge in LSE’s share price.
David Schwimmer, a US banker who has been chief executive of LSE since 2018, was paid a base salary of £800,000, a £1.4m bonus, plus £4.3m in long-term bonus shares, according to the company’s annual report published on Monday.
Alongside other benefits such as £213,000 of private medical insurance and “expatriate allowances”, Schwimmer’s total 2020 pay was £6.9m – a 180% increase on the £2.5m he collected in 2019 – making him one of the highest-paid bosses in the FTSE 100.
The company bumper pay was a reflection of LSE’s 50% share price growth between August 2019, when the Refinitiv deal was announced, and its closing in January 2021.
The shares have fallen by 25% over the past month, however, over fears that the costs of integrating the businesses have been larger than expected.
The purchase of Refinitiv is designed to allow the LSE to compete with global financial information provider Bloomberg. The market for financial information has exploded with the advent of computer-driven trading, triggering a flurry of takeovers as companies seek to create one-stop shops to serve clients and get an edge over traditional rivals in supplying data, nicknamed the “new oil”.
The LSE owns the London Stock Exchange, on which it is listed, as well as other exchanges in Europe.
Schwimmer’s pay is far higher than the FTSE 100 chief executive median average pay of £3.6m, according to data from the High Pay Centre, which lobbies against excessive executive pay. He was also given a 25% lift in his basic pay for 2021, to £1m.
Bankers and others advising on the LSE’s purchase of Refinitiv earned more than $1bn in fees on the deal, making it one of the highest-paying acquisitions in British business history.