TOP honchos at OCBC Bank are getting fatter pay cheques for a job well done, with the bank chalking up record full-year profits last year.

The bank's annual report, out on the Singapore Exchange yesterday, revealed that chief executive David Conner racked up total pay of $7.476 million, up about 10 per cent on 2009 and his highest ever.

Almost half of Mr Conner's pay comprised deferred shares and share awards of $3.71 million. There was also $1.24 million in salary and fees and $2.49 million in bonuses.

OCBC's net profit hit $2.25 billion last year, up 15 per cent from the $1.96 billion recorded in 2009.

The stellar result was led by a hike in non-interest income from wealth management, and gains from trading and investment.

OCBC is the first of the local banks to come out with pay details of the group's top personnel for the financial year ended 2010, but it is not the first among the blue chips.

Last week, CapitaLand disclosed in its annual report that chief executive Liew Mun Leong was paid $6.69 million in total for 2010, up 15 per cent from 2009.

As the annual report season gets under way, market observers are expecting higher CEO pay packages all round given that many companies reported higher profits for the year ended Dec 31 from a year earlier, as a sign of a turnaround from the economic recession.

OCBC chairman Cheong Choong Kong also had a pay rise, with his remuneration rising from $3.1 million to $3.226 million.

This comprised $1.257 million in salary and fees and $1.29 million in bonuses. The rest represents the value of share options.

Remuneration for non-executive directors ranged from $40,000 to $218,000 in 2010. Non-executive directors who served full terms received $56,000 worth of remuneration shares going by the $9.27 a share closing price on March 11.

Non-executive directors' pay inclusive of remuneration shares is subject to shareholder approval, which will be sought at an annual general meeting on April 15.

Other local banks DBS and United Overseas Bank (UOB) have yet to issue annual reports for 2010.

Last year, UOB chief executive Wee Ee Cheong saw his 2009 pay shoot up by at least 22 per cent to between $7 million and $7.25 million, despite full-year net profit falling by almost 2 per cent in 2009 to $1.9 billion.

For 2010, UOB posted a record full-year profit of $2.7 billion - the highest reported by a Singapore bank to date.

Unlike OCBC and UOB, DBS posted a 20 per cent fall in full-year profit to $1.63 billion after including a one-time goodwill impairment charge for its Hong Kong unit in the second quarter of last year.

DBS chief executive Piyush Gupta was paid at least $4.2 million for the financial year 2009 after having worked in the bank for less than two months.

He joined DBS Bank in early November of 2009 and was paid between $4.2 million and $4.45 million. This amount was inclusive of Mr Gupta's sign-on bonuses, DBS' 2009 annual report stated.

Separately, in a letter to shareholders presented within its annual report, OCBC spoke about the rise in shareholder value over five years.

OCBC's share price increased by 47 per cent over that period, outperforming the Straits Times Index by 36 per cent, as well as the shares of its banking peers.

The bank also improved its presence in Malaysia, Indonesia and China.

Wealth management and cross-selling capabilities have improved and OCBC has ventured into the private banking business with Bank of Singapore, the letter said.

The bank now intends to go deeper into key regional markets.

It aims to expand its distribution network and gain market share in Malaysia, while it will leverage off the merger of two units - Bank OCBC NISP and Bank OCBC Indonesia - to tackle the Indonesian market.

OCBC hopes to better integrate across functions in Hong Kong, Taiwan and China as well as build its private banking clientele in those areas. While organic growth will continue, the bank is also open to acquisitions.

OCBC will focus efforts on improving cross-selling among its various units as well as encourage customer referrals between the various entities, the letter said.

OCBC shares remained flat yesterday at $9.35.