Michael Geoghegan, the chief executive of HSBC who moved to Hong Kong last month, is planning to give his nearly GBP4 million (HK$47.29 million) bonus to several charities, according to people familiar with the matter.
The top banker is expected to announce the multimillion gifts in today's HSBC results announcement, a person close to the banker told the South China Morning Post yesterday.
'He [Geoghegan] and his wife have always been keen on doing charity for children and that is what he is considering to do with his bonus,' the person said.
Geoghegan may give his bonus to several charities, including one he and his wife Jania have long supported, Education Africa, which specialises in supporting school projects for children in Africa.
A spokeswoman for HSBC yesterday refused to comment.
Geoghegan did not take any bonus for 2008, when the bank performed dismally after racking up losses at its United States subprime mortgage lender Household Finance. This year, with analysts forecasting the banks will report strong earnings, Geoghegan's bonus is expected to be about GBP4 million.
Top bankers from Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group, which received government bailouts, gave up their bonuses after public outcry.
HSBC did not need a bailout.
Jerry Chang, a director of the headhunting firm Barons, said many bankers contributed to charity but very few would donate an entire bonus.
'If Geoghegan is confirmed to be giving his bonus to charity, it would not only benefit underprivileged children but the image of the banking industry as a whole,' he said.
Paul Chan Mo-po, legislator for the accountancy sector, said more bankers should follow Geoghegan's example.
'There are many children living in poor conditions and have no chance of receiving an education,' he said. 'If other highly paid bankers like Geoghegan would be willing to pay out more to help those in need, this would be a very good move for our next generation.'