Squabble over salaries at Russia's second largest bank

RIA Novosti / Aleksandr Utkin
Row’s broken out between VTB and the Forbes magazine over its salary ratings.

VTB says Forbes significantly exaggerated the company’s salary levels.

The magazine described VTB top managers as "golden heads" whose incomes showed a record growth during 2011.

According to the Forbes rating Yuri Solovyev, the former President of VTB Capital received $25 million for his role as First Deputy President-Chairman of the Board , which has made him “the most precious top manager of the year.” Maksim Kuzovlev, another VTB executive responsible for the integration of Bank of Moscow into the VTB group, will earn $15 million annually. Kuzovlev is renowned for turning around the Guta-bank for VTB group.

On the whole, banks are among the top industries which provide very attractive reward for their top managers. According to Forbes research the salary of an average top manger of Russia’s top ten rated banks ranges between 300 thousand to 1.5 million roubles. The leading position in terms of wage rate growth in the investment banking sector belongs to the heads of analytical departments with a 34% annual increase.

VTB says they were surprised by the article, and the rating did not take into account data VTB was ready to provide. “Forbes journalists used information based solely on interviews with head-hunters. None of the newly assigned top managers of the group collaborated with recruitment agencies while discussing working conditions at VTB Group.”

Forbes says “the representatives of the press services of VTB and Bank of Moscow were informed about the research data including the size of salaries of the bank’s top managers and asked for a feedback if any amendments should follow.”

VTB is not the only bank where salaries are measured in eight digits. Sberbank and Gazprombank were also discovered to pay incredibly high bonuses during the crisis. According to Forbes, state banks could take the lead because they have exclusive opportunities to make big deals, while private banks have more to worry about efficiency.

Forbes noted that oil and heavy industry were traditionally among the top earners. Managers from the oil and gas sector eared around $2.7 million each including annual bonuses. Forbes says sometimes this figure could be more than double to $5-8 million.

In general, the highest reward could be obtained when working in state companies running national projects where budget funds are allocated. For example, the organization of the APEC summit in 2012 and the Olympics in 2014, the Innovation Center "Skolkovo" and the administration of the North Caucasus are planning to outlay 540 billion roubles from the budget.