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Compensation of the Board of Managing Directors

The company law and regulatory requirements pertaining to the compensation systems of joint stock corporations in general, and of banks in particular, have continually developed in recent years. The amendments to the Act on the Appropriateness of Management Board Compensation (VorstAG) were followed in 2010 by binding regulations, initially at European level, for compensation systems in financial institutions, such as the Capital Requirements Directive III (CRD III) and the guidelines of the Committee of European Banking Supervisors (CEBS Guidelines). In October 2010, the national legislative procedure to implement these new requirements for compensation systems was completed when the executive compensation regulation for banks (InstitutsVergV) came into force.

Parallel to the legislative process, comdirect bank AG examined the new legal requirements very closely and revised the compensation system for the members of the Board of Managing Directors in consultation with external compensation and legal advisers, including from the Commerzbank Group. In view of the Commerzbank Group’s responsibility under Article 9 of the executive compensation regulation for banks (InstitutsVergV) that subordinate companies comply with regulatory requirements, the compensation system for members of the Board of Managing Directors was further developed and adjusted in line with the Commerzbank Group’s compensation systems. The contracts of employment for the members of the Board of Managing Directors were modified accordingly and the variable compensation for 2011 is already based on the new regulatory requirements.

The compensation policy for the Board of Managing Directors is continually aimed at compensation that is appropriate and sustainable, that avoids incentives to take disproportionate high risks and at the same time offers effective conduct incentives to achieve the objectives laid down in the bank’s strategies and thus permanently contribute to the continued positive development of the comdirect group.

Main features of the compensation system

The compensation system for the Board of Managing Directors of comdirect bank is specified and reviewed annually by the Supervisory Board. It takes account of the legal and regulatory requirements.

The overall compensation comprises a non-performance-related fixed compensation and a variable compensation component linked to the success of the company and personal performance. Furthermore, the members of the Board of Managing Directors receive a company pension in respect of their activities for comdirect bank. The compensation components are specified in the contracts of employment of the respective members of the Board of Managing Directors.

The compensation for the Board of Managing Directors is based on the duties of the individual member of the Board of Managing Directors and the current economic position and future prospects of the bank, as well as the level of compensation paid in peer companies. The appropriateness of the compensation is reviewed annually in consultation with independent, external compensation advisers. The relationship between fixed compensation and the variable compensation component is appropriate, thereby avoiding a significant dependence of the members of the Board of Managing Directors on the variable compensation and providing an effective incentive at the same time. For the CEO, the target amount for the variable compensation component is therefore limited to a maximum of around 67% of the target overall compensation, and for members of the Board of Managing Directors to a maximum of around 54% (cap).

Non-performance related fixed compensation

The non-performance related fixed compensation comprises an annual fixed salary plus benefits. Without prejudice to the possibility of a review by the Supervisory Board, the annual fixed salary for members of the Board of Managing Directors is set for the entire term of their respective contract of employment and is paid in twelve monthly instalments. In addition to the fixed salary, the members of the Board of Managing Directors receive fringe benefits in the form of payments in kind which essentially comprise the payment of expense allowances and insurance premiums and the taxes and social security contributions attributable to these. The actual amount varies according to the individual situation of the respective member of the Board of Managing Directors. Moreover, the Commerzbank Group maintains a D&O insurance policy with deductible, which includes the members of the Board of Managing Directors and Supervisory Board of comdirect.

Performance-related variable compensation

The system described below applies for the performance-related compensation of Dr. Reitmeyer and Dr. Diekmann.

The volume of the performance-related variable compensation of Dr. Reitmeyer and Dr. Diekmann is based on the attainment of business targets for comdirect and the Commerzbank Group, as well as individual targets in the financial year under assessment in conjunction with the target amount for the variable compensation component of the members of the Board of Managing Directors. The targets are agreed annually between the Board of Managing Directors and the Supervisory Board and are aligned with the strategic objectives of the bank and in particular take account of risks taken and the cost of capital. Target attainment can amount to a minimum of 0% and a maximum of 200% and accordingly limits the volume for the variable compensation of the Board of Managing Directors (cap).

The individual variable compensation for the members of the Board of Managing Directors breaks down into two components: a long term incentive (LTI), which for the CEO accounts for 60% and for members of the Board of Managing Directors for 40% of the variable compensation and is paid three-and-a-half years after the end of the financial year at the earliest, and a short term incentive (STI), which is paid within ten months of the end of the financial year. The entitlement to the LTI is only acquired upon expiry of the three-year waiting period. The entitlement to the STI is acquired immediately. In each case, 50% of the LTI and STI component is settled as a cash payout and 50% in the form of shares in Commerzbank AG after a blocking period. Entitlements and due dates for the LTI and STI components are shown in the chart below.

With regard to the variable compensation for financial year 2011, the STI will therefore fall due in financial year 2012 (year 1) and the LTI – subject to a reduction or cancellation of the entitlement – in 2015 (year 4).

The level of the individual variable compensation for both the LTI and STI is measured in the individual performance evaluation based on the agreed individual quantitative and qualitative targets for the respective financial year. The underlying targets are agreed annually with the Supervisory Board and are aligned with the strategic objectives of the bank. Target attainment can lie between 0% and 200% and limits the level of the STI and LTI accordingly (cap). To measure the level of the LTI component, further collective and individual reviews are carried out in performance evaluation II at the end of the three-year waiting period. At collective level, this review includes the liquidity and profitability of the Commerzbank Group. At individual level, the sustainability of the individual performance ascertained in performance evaluation I is rated along with compliance with regulations and the risk-taking behaviour of the individual members of the Board of Managing Directors. Negative individual performance contributions reduce the respective compensation from the LTI component (malus), as does failure to meet the liquidity and profitability criteria of the Commerzbank Group.

The performance evaluations are carried out in each case by the Supervisory Board. The following overview depicts the measurement of the variable compensation based on performance evaluations I and II.

Safeguards which restrict or rescind the risk-orientation of the variable compensation are contractually excluded. The current LTI components do not apply if, based on defined criteria, the respective member of the Board of Managing Directors leaves the bank as a “bad leaver”. In the event of extraordinary developments, the Supervisory Board can, at its discretion, adjust the targets and parameters for the STI and LTI and appropriately limit the level of individual variable compensation. There is no payout of the variable compensation components if the payment is prohibited or restricted by the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin).

The performance-related variable compensation for Mr Strauß is based on the attainment of business targets for the comdirect group, as well as individual targets in the financial year under assessment in conjunction with the target amount for the variable compensation component. With regard to the business targets, both profit criteria allowing for the cost of capital and the attainment of defined growth criteria are taken into account. The targets are agreed annually between the member of the Board of Managing Directors and the Supervisory Board and are aligned with the strategic objectives of the bank. At the end of the financial year, the Supervisory Board examines the extent to which the targets have been achieved and sets the level for the variable compensation. In principle, the variable compensation for the respective financial year for Mr Strauß is due after the annual general meeting in which the annual financial statements for the financial year are presented, which means regularly in May of the following year. Part of the variable compensation can be paid at a later date as a share-based payment taking account of the sustainable performance of the bank and Commerzbank AG. Entitlement to the variable compensation does not apply if the payment is prohibited or restricted by the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin).

With regard to the variable compensation payment for Mr Strauß for financial year 2011, the Supervisory Board has specified that 50% of the variable compensation payment exceeding an amount of €50 thousand will be granted in Commerzbank share awards in April 2012. The number of share awards granted is determined by dividing the portion of the variable compensation payment granted in share awards by the average Xetra closing price for the months December 2011 to February 2012. Where there are no individual breaches of compliance with the regulations and risk limits and no individual misconduct in the sense of an infringement of the operating or strategic objectives or requirements of the bank has been ascertained, the share awards fall due for payment in financial year 2015 after a three-year waiting period. Any breaches of the above conditions may lead to a reduction or cancellation of the entitlements. The normal amount paid out is determined by multiplying the number of share awards granted with the average Xetra closing price in the months December 2014 to February 2015 plus the sum of the dividends paid per Commerzbank share during the waiting period.

The previous sustainable component with multi-year assessment basis, which since 2005 has been based on the Long Term Incentive Programme (LTIP), ceased when the adjusted compensation system for the full Board of Managing Directors was introduced. As a result, in the event of a correspondingly positive performance, only the tranches issued in 2009 and 2010 will fall due for payment under the LTIP 2005. Details of the LTIP 2005 can be found in the Notes.

Pensions

For their work at comdirect bank, the members of the Board of Managing Directors receive a pension entitlement, whereby the active members of the Board of Managing Directors acquire a claim to a capital payment. The rights to a pension vest after five years’ service in the Commerzbank Group. The company has recognised pension provisions for these future claims on the basis of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), the level of which depends on the number of service years, the pensionable salary and the current actuarial interest rate. These are calculated according to the project unit credit method on the basis of actuarial opinions by an independent actuary (see note (69)).

Premature termination benefits

If comdirect bank prematurely terminates the appointment to the Board of a member of the Board of Managing Directors, the respective contract of employment is in principle continued until the end of the original term of office. Dr. Reitmeyer and Mr Strauß would receive a maximum amount of up to two years compensation, with the calculation based on the compensation for the last full financial year prior to termination. The same arrangement applies for Dr. Diekmann for the term of office starting on 1 May 2012. In the contract covering the term of office until that date, in the event of premature termination, it was agreed that Dr. Diekmann would continue to be paid compensation amounting to 50% of the fixed compensation for a maximum of 24 months. There is no entitlement to further remuneration where the termination takes place for good cause.

Overall compensation for active members of the Board of Managing Directors

The overall compensation for active members of the Board of Managing Directors for their activities in financial year 2011 amounted to €1,533 thousand (previous year: €1,590 thousand). In accordance with Section 314 of the German Commercial Code (HGB), in addition to the non-performance related fixed compensation and the performance- related compensation due in the short term, the share-based portion of the performance-related variable compensation with long term incentive effect is also to be reported here as remuneration in financial year 2011. The figure for the previous year includes contributions from members of the Board of Managing Directors who left in financial year 2010.

The table below shows the compensation due in the short term to members of the Board of Managing Directors for financial year 2011.

€ thousand Non-performance related fixed compensation Performance-related variable compensation due in short term
(STI component)
Total (payment 2011/2012 for 2011)
  Fixed salary Value of fringe benefits Total (payment in 2011 for 2011) STI cash payout Sharebased STI1) Total (payment in 2012 for 2011)  
1) Figure determined in performance evaluation I. Actual payout varies depending on share price performance up until date of issue.
Dr. Thorsten Reitmeyer 360 141 501 77 77 154 655
Dr. Christian Diekmann 230 16 246 47 47 94 340
Carsten Strauß 230 6 236 103 - 103 339
Total 820 163 983 227 124 351 1,334

The following table shows the indicative figures determined in performance evaluation I for the performance-related variable compensation with long term incentive effect (LTI component) for Dr. Reitmeyer and Dr. Diekmann for financial year 2011. An entitlement to a payout is not acquired until financial year 2014 at the earliest after the end of the three year waiting period. Depending on the results of performance evaluation II, the amount can be reduced or cancelled and will not be due for payment until financial year 2015 at the earliest. The amount shown for Mr Strauß is the portion of the variable compensation payment for financial year 2011 granted in Commerzbank share awards. The amount can also be reduced or cancelled in the event of a breach of the payout conditions.

  Performance-related variable compensation with long term incentive effect (LTI component)
€ thousand LTI cash payout Share-based LTI1) Total (Payment in 2015 for 2011 if applicable)
1) Actual payout also varies depending on share price performance up until date of payout or date of issue respectively.
Dr. Thorsten Reitmeyer 115 115 230
Dr. Christian Diekmann 31 31 62
Carsten Strauß - 53 53
Total 146 199 345

Details regarding the pensions for the active members of the Board of Managing Directors are shown in the following table individually.

€ thousand Pension obligation (DBO) under IFRS as of 31.12.2011 Vested rights as of 31.12.2011
Dr. Thorsten Reitmeyer 121 177
Dr. Christian Diekmann 32 46
Carsten Strauß 74 85
Total 227 308

In the past financial year, no member of the Board of Managing Directors has received payments or corresponding obligations from a third party in relation to their activities as a member of the Board of Managing Directors. Members performing board functions at subsidiaries only received reimbursement for expenses.

The fourth tranche under the LTI programme 2005 granted in financial year 2008 became due in 2011. As a result of the absolute and relative performance of comdirect bank shares, Mr Strauß received a payment of €123 thousand and Dr. Diekmann a payment of €157 thousand.

The insurance premium for the group-wide D&O insurance for Managing Directors and Supervisory Board members of comdirect bank amounted to €61 thousand in the reporting year and was paid by the company. No loans or advance payments were granted in the reporting year.

Overall compensation for former members of the Board of Managing Directors

The overall compensation for former members of the Board of Managing Directors amounted to €404 thousand (previous year: €347 thousand) in the financial year. In 2011, the payment made to former members of the Board of Managing Directors under the LTI programme 2005 totalled €202 thousand. Up to 2012, further payments to former members of the Board of Managing Directors under the LTI programme 2005 could become due from the remaining tranches. As of 31 December 2011, the pension obligations to former members of the Board of Managing Directors pursuant to IFRS totalled €3,367 thousand (previous year: €3,405 thousand).