Ten top executives at Royal Bank of Scotland have been handed almost £5.5m in shares this year as allowances to sidestep the EU bonus cap.

The latest disclosure to the stock market by the 80% taxpayer-owned bank shows that the 10 received £1.9m in these allowances for the last four months of 2014. These awards followed £3.5m handed out in August, to cover the first eight months of the year.

Only one of the 10 sits on the board: the finance director, Ewen Stevenson, who joined in May. The rest, such the as deputy chief executive, Chris Sullivan, are among the most senior bankers at RBS but their precise pay is not revealed.

Such allowances, also known as role-based pay, are being used by 39 banks in six EU states as a way to prevent bankers’ pay falling following the introduction by Brussels of rules capping bonuses for top bankers at 100% of salary, or 200% if shareholders expressly approve.

The Treasury blocked attempts by RBS to pay bonuses worth 200% of salary and last week gave up its legal attempt to have the bonus cap overturned. Europe’s top banking regulator has cast doubt on the use of such top-ups, concluding they should be counted as variable components of pay and hence risked breaching the new rules.

Ross McEwan, RBS chief executive, is not receiving the allowances this year while Bruce van Saun, the former finance director who now runs RBS’s US arm Citizens, is receiving his awards in the US.

http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/dec/05/rbs-10-executives-allowances-sidestep-eu-bonus-cap