Santander unveils incentive plan for British employees

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Spain's Santander, the eurozone's biggest bank by market value, said Tuesday it will propose an incentive plan worth over 400 million euros for its employees in Britain at its annual general meeting next month.

The plan involves giving cash and share options to several thousand employees linked to performance and "certain continuity requirement", the bank said in a notice to shareholders ahead of the June 17 annual general meeting.

It is seen as a way for the bank to prevent the loss of talent following several high-profile departures from Santander's British unit in recent months.

Late last year the president of Santander UK, Antonio , left the bank to take up the same position at rival Lloyds Banking Group, which offered him a bumper long-term incentive package.

Horta-Osorio, considered rising star within Santander, was replaced by Ana Patricia Botin, daughter of Santander executive chairman Emilio Botin.

Santander posted a net profit of 8.2 billion euros last year, an 8.5-percent drop over the previous year. Britain accounted for 18 percent of the bank's net profit in 2010, more than Spain.

The Spanish bank took advantage of a crisis in the British financial sector to expand its activities there.

After buying Abbey in 2004, it took control over the retail networks of Alliance & Leicester, Bradford & Bingley and the Royal Bank of Scotland, brining its total number of branches in Britain to 1,600.

© 2011 AFP

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