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Wise's CFO nets 60 per cent bigger pay packet than CEO

Kristo Käärmann took home an overall pay packet of £209,000 in the year ending March 2023 compared to the £336,000 taken home by Wise CFO Matthew Briers.

Wise CEO Kristo Käärmann


The co-founder and CEO of Wise Kristo Käärmann took in an overall pay packet of £209,000 in 2023, over 60 per cent less than Wise’s (outgoing) chief financial officer, according to its annual report.

Shares in the London-listed money transfer business last week surged 17 per cent after it revealed a tripling of full-year profits after more than £11bn was deposited with the unicorn’s new bank account offering.

Wise made £146.5m in profit, up 234 per cent on the year, as total revenue from transfers and interest came to £964.2m.

Wise’s annual report, which was published yesterday, also reveals the fintech now has more women working at it than men and that it onboarded over a million new customers in each quarter this year, with a total of 10m active customers.

Its annual report shows that Käärmann, who has a 19.8 per cent stake in Wise and is soon to take up a sabbatical from the business, received an overall pay packet of £209,000 in the year ending March 2023.

This was made up of a basic salary of £197,000, taxable benefits of £1,700 and pension-related benefits of £9,800.

In the year previous, the CEO took him an overall pay packet of £161,000.

By comparison, Wise’s CFO Matthew Briers took home an overall pay packet of £336,000 in the year ending March 2023, made up of a £335,000 salary and £800 in taxable benefits.

In the year previous, Briers took him an overall pay packet of £217,000.

Neither Käärmann nor Briers was paid a bonus in the period.

Both Käärmann, who is currently being probed by the UK financial regulator after he failed to pay his taxes, and Briers are set to leave Wise. Käärmann will take a temporary sabbatical from September to December 2023. Briers, meanwhile, is permanently exiting the business to focus on his recovery from a bicycle accident that happened last year.

The annual report also reveals details of the gender breakdown of Wise’s workforce, with 51 per cent of its workforce (2,644 employees) women, compared to 49 per cent (2,506) men.

“Over the last year, one of our focus areas has been increasing our representation of women,” says the annual report.

Within its leadership team, 40 per cent are women, compared to 60 per cent men.

Wise’s gender pay gap is down by 2.9 per cent in the period, the report reveals.

Like other fintechs, Wise has tub-thumped about its word-of-mouth marketing to entice customers and in the financial period, it says that 66 per cent of its customers are coming to Wise via word of months marketing.

Wise also says that “roughly 5 per cent of the cross-border money moved by people goes through Wise and for small business that is approaching 1 per cent”.

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Kristo Kaarmann

CEO and Co-Founder


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