• Finance & Banking
  • This bank's CEO wasn't paid like one—until now

    Toronto-based BMO Financial Group doesn't usually pay the CEO of its Chicago subsidiary enough to crack its list of top five highly paid executives. That just changed.

    BMO Harris CEO David Casper

    David Casper


    It’s rare when a BMO Harris Bank CEO gets paid enough to be listed among the five most highly compensated executives at the bank’s Toronto-based parent, BMO Financial Group.

    79彩票注册网址In a sign of how much BMO Financial Group’s operations on this side of the border matter to earnings growth, BMO Harris CEO David Casper has now achieved that distinction.

    79彩票注册网址In 2019, Casper received $4.3 million, most of that in cash and stock. That was up 13 percent from $3.8 million in 2018, according to BMO Financial’s issued last week.

    His salary was raised to $600,000 from $550,000 the year before. Total direct compensation was increased, the proxy stated, “to better align with the market.”

    A BMO Harris spokesman declined to comment, and Casper isn’t likely to be unhappy about the substantial raise. But aligned with the market? Hardly.

    79彩票注册网址Edward Wehmer, CEO of Rosemont-based Wintrust Financial, was paid $4.9 million in 2018. (Its 2020 proxy is not yet out.) Wintrust at the end of 2018 had $29 billion in assets. BMO Harris Bank’s U.S. holding company had $155 billion at that time.

    CEOs of U.S. banks closer to BMO Harris’ size get paid about double what Casper received. Greg Carmichael, CEO of Cincinnati-based Fifth Third, received $9 million in 2019, according to the bank’s recent proxy. Fifth Third, slightly larger than BMO in the U.S., is a bitter competitor to BMO Harris in Chicago.

    Of course, unlike Wehmer and Carmichael, Casper isn’t reporting directly to the board of BMO Financial Group. But Larry Richman, former CEO of Chicago’s PrivateBancorp and later U.S. head of PrivateBancorp acquirer Toronto-based CIBC, was paid more than $7 million in cash, stock and other benefits in 2018, according to CIBC’s proxy. Richman’s salary was $1.3 million, more than double Casper’s now.

    Richman retired last year.79彩票注册网址 CIBC’s proxy statement for 2020 isn’t out yet.

    79彩票注册网址BMO’s U.S. operations contributed a third of the parent’s total adjusted earnings in 2019. In 2016, that percentage was 25 percent. Casper is responsible for most of the U.S. business (wealth management and investment banking aren’t his bailiwick), and his unit’s contribution in 2019 was 25 percent. In 2016 it was 23 percent.

    79彩票注册网址The only other times in recent history that BMO Harris’ CEO cracked the top five for the parent company was 2012, when CEO Mark Furlong’s pay was artificially high thanks to BMO’s acquisition of Marshall & Ilsley, the Milwaukee-based bank Furlong was running. In the early 2000s, Alan McNally, CEO of Harris from 1993 to 2002, cracked the top five a few times.

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