More than 10% of shareholder votes went against HSBC's pay report at its annual meeting today after the banking giant's boss took home £7.5m in pay and bonuses last year.
Chief executive Stuart Gulliver took a 14% pay cut in 2011, after earning £8.4m in pay in 2010 when he was in charge of the investment banking division.
But 10.1% of investor votes went against HSBC's remuneration report following criticism from shareholder body Pensions & Investment Research Consultants (Pirc).
However, this is down on the near 19% of shareholder votes that went against the 2010 pay report.
HSBC chairman Douglas Flint alluded to pay earlier in the meeting and appeared to defend the bank's high rewards.
He said: "We continued to develop a truly meritocratic culture because as international competition for the best talent intensifies, we need to ensure that HSBC is making the most of the skills and abilities of our people and encouraging them to reach their full potential."
The group, which reported a 15% rise in profits to £13.8bn in 2011 but saw its share price slide 23%, is the latest company to be stung by shareholders following discontent over pay.
Last month, rival Barclays saw 27% of votes go against its pay report amid anger over chief executive Bob Diamond's hefty payout.