Prudential reported a 14pc rise in operating profits to £3.2bn for last year. The company met or surpassed internal targets on operating profit, cash flow and embedded value during the year, triggering the bonus payments.

Mr Thiam is one of the best-paid executives in the FTSE 100. WPP’s Martin Sorrell looks set to keep his title as the highest-paid boss in the index, after being awarded £36m for 2014. Ben van Beurden, who runs the oil company Royal Dutch Shell, has been awarded about £20m.

Depending on how Prudential performs in future years, Mr Thiam stands to get more than 269,000 shares that have been deferred. At current prices, the awards would be worth almost £4.5m.

Credit Suisse has not divulged its pay plans for its new chief executive. Last year, it cut total remuneration for Brady Dougan, its current boss, to 9.7m Swiss francs (£6.7m) to reflect a record $2.6bn fine paid to the US authorities for conspiring to aid tax evasion.

In its annual report, Prudential said it would consider putting its audit contract out to tender until the fog has cleared around the new Solvency II global rules for insurers, which come into force in 2016. The firm paid £16.6m to its auditor KPMG last year, including £5.1m for non-audit services.