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Lib Dems: Smaller bonuses, smaller City?

Robert Peston | 10:39 UK time, Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Nick Clegg's latest policy, clamping down on bankers' bonuses, is vintage Vince Cable. It's a vice to the vitals of investment bankers and those running our biggest banks.

Vince Cable and Nick Clegg

These are the highlights:

1) All bonuses over £2,500 would be payable in shares, which couldn't be redeemed, or pledged as security for loans or turned into anything spendable for at least five years.

2) No one on the board of a bank, not even the chief executive, would be eligible for a penny of bonus.

3) Loss-making banks would be banned from paying bonuses.

4) Every employee of a bank earning more than the prime minister - which Mr Clegg defines as circa £200,000 - would be publicly named.

5) Bank directors would be fined if their banks were to break the remuneration code.

What to say about this? Chances are that, were the C&C pay code implemented, it would be a pretty fast route to a smaller British-based banking sector, a smaller City - as bankers and banks would doubtless make a panicky run to a more benign tax climate.

C&C would probably say "good riddance to bad risks".

And they would say that the bonus jihad is just a stepping stone to a structural reform of the banking system: the break-up of banks and the stimulation of competition to eliminate what they see as the excess profits that generate the bonuses.

C&C talk about this with total moral and economic certainty. Unlike Labour and the Tories, they have reached a settled position that the tax revenues and employment generated by a bulging City are inadequate reward for the risks to the stability of the economy and to social cohesion from a vast financial industry built on debt, speculation and substantial bonuses.

Anyway, to state the obvious, it'll be an unusual investment banker who votes Lib Dem in the coming election.

More generally in the City, the C&C pay policy will be dismissed as the extremist grandstanding of a party with no chance of winning power.

But that would be a bit naive. Vince Cable's voice has been louder than any other British politician's since the Crunch became full-scale banking crisis. Where he leads, Labour and the Tories do not slavishly follow. But nor do they ignore him.

At the very least, if C&C have opted for a hairshirt, fundamentalist bonus prohibition, no banker should expect that the general political and popular attitude to their wonga will become markedly more benign any time soon.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Now if the Tories were to promise a break up of investment/retail banks they would sail through the election.

  • Comment number 2.

    I am sure banks would be willing ro consider this if politicians:

    1) All expenses over £2,500 would be payable in shares of UK companies, which couldn't be redeemed, or pledged as security for loans or turned into anything spendable for at least five years.

    2) No member of the cabinet, not even the prime minister, would be eligible for a penny of expenses.

    3) Loss-making governments would be banned from receiving pensions when they are voted out/retire.

    4) Every MP to be paid the national average that they use for everyone else.

    5) No MP is to receive a pay rise more than that given to pensioners in the budget

    6) All UK laws to also apply to HoC

    Somehow, I can't see that happening....

  • Comment number 3.

    And I thought they were the "Liberal" wing of the party...

  • Comment number 4.

    Seems to me like everyone is bashing the scape-goat banks. However, we should be bashing ourselves for following a commercial mantra, for massive consumerism, for holding money so dear. That is the problem, GREED. The banks merely enabled people to be greedy and profited (or not) from so doing. For me as an old labour union man I shall never vote labour again, not since 97. I will not vote libdem as they are missing the whole point. Tories? Well, I think MT has a lot to answer for our current situation. Perhaps BNP will get my vote. I just wish we had a credible party who can lead in an innovative way, show a new direction.....one that encapsulates our Britishness and gives us a goal. And that goal does not necessarily mean self-aggrandisement.

  • Comment number 5.

    These policies don't nearly address the systemic risk.

    All they will achieve is a gross inflation of banker's basic pay (as has already happened at Barclays).

    The obvious omission is a UK version of Glass-Steagall i.e. the separation of retail from investment banking and application of the Government guarantee to retail banks only.

    Remember the LibLabConsters are all liberal-democratic (i.e. libertarian) free-market loving fundamentalists at heart. Essentially they are all the same - anti-statist.

    They are all out for the erosion of the state for private profit
    (state = NHS, state school education system, civil service, BBC etc etc.).

  • Comment number 6.

    Fine but what really matters is that banks are supervised not just regulated, reduced to a competitive size and part of a mixed economy with a significant public sector presence to ensure standards and real competition. Added to which should be an industrial strategy that rebalances the economy more in favour of making things and exportable expertise useful for the rest of the world. The LD's are going in the right direction but well short so far.

  • Comment number 7.

    I can sympathise with the comment by yam yzf but would take it further by suggesting that bankers salaries are pegged to that of politicians.

  • Comment number 8.

    I also note that in recent weeks the house price values have been rising steadily.......woahhhhhhhh! Isn't that half of the intrinsic problem? It really is time to think about our future, not the future of a few grubby landlord who stand to 'make a packet' here and there. Or of the homeowners using the (false) rise in value to fund a new beemer?

  • Comment number 9.

    4. At 11:06am on 13 Apr 2010, Noel Woodroffe wrote:
    Seems to me like everyone is bashing the scape-goat banks. However, we should be bashing ourselves for following a commercial mantra, for massive consumerism, for holding money so dear. That is the problem, GREED. The banks merely enabled people to be greedy and profited (or not) from so doing.

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Wake up, wages have NOT kept up with inflation over the past 10 years!

    Yes, some people have been greedy but most, particulary the younger generation have had to take on masive amounts of credit to live, buy a modest house, pay for Uni etc...Now they are (and will be for the next 20+ years!)paying towards the bailout too...so bankers can still take bonuses?...what a joke!

    The bankers need to be brought back to reality and morality and good on the Lib Dems for at least trying. If the British people canot see this by now then we have no hope.

    Forget Government, at the moment the bankers rule this country and this needs sorting!

  • Comment number 10.

    #5 If the banks had been split, the consequences could have been worst.

    As many, including myself, have pointed out before, the banks/building societies that needed bailing out were primarily retail or investment banks only.

    Those such as HSBC and Barclays had both investment AND retail and did not need to be bailed out.

    RBS was brought down by the disastrous decision to get ABN at any cost.
    Lloyds were brought down by, perhaps, some strong arming to take on HBOS.

    The problem with NR was their source of funding dried up.

    Glass-Steagal would have made no difference here at all

  • Comment number 11.

    @9 what to do now.
    Wake up? Really? What i say is right. The majority of the populace has not benefitted without doubt. BUT the vote-swinging middle classes and property owners have benefitted. Perhaps it is you who is not the insomniac?

  • Comment number 12.

    It's not even about bonuses - this story demonstrates that the city stinks of corruption at the top.

    https://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/8617345.stm

    So the answer is clearly more and stricter regulation - but who is going to enforce and create this regulation? Are we not ditching the FSA and cutting back?

    I didn't see 'financial regulation' listed as one of the 'front line services being protected'....

    They're all lying to you - the problems that contributed to the crisis are not going to be addressed by any party

    It's like being burgled - all agreeing you need better locks - and then deciding not to bother because it's going to cost too much.

    This election is truly pathetic - so much more than previous ones.

    Still at least it will prove if the 'general public' are idiots or not.

  • Comment number 13.

    4. At 11:06am on 13 Apr 2010, Noel Woodroffe wrote:

    "Seems to me like everyone is bashing the scape-goat banks. However, we should be bashing ourselves for following a commercial mantra"

    no, you blame yourself for that - I (and many like me) didn't follow that mantra, did live the prudent life and are now being punished by Goverment intervention keeping interest rates at record lows for more than a year.

    It's a common thread in this election - the people who thought it would be a good idea to make a hole in the boat - now claim that "we're all in this together" now that it's sinking through their stupidity.

  • Comment number 14.

    "as bankers and banks would doubtless make a panicky run to a more benign tax climate" I would imagine that the most mobile and highest paid bankers are already being paid from a more favourable tax climate. Secondly are british bankers so delusional that they believe nobody else in the world could do their job.

    I agree at least in part with watrieler. This is a start but regulation is the real need. Even without the bonus culture, bankers will carry on the same, the competition to outperform the market and to get promotion will still be there.they know no other way

  • Comment number 15.

    Yes 12 wow
    We have no credible alternatives. As far as I see it all the parties have missed the point, barking up th wrong tree even?

    The only alternative, as I see it, is a bloody uprising......But, of course that will not happen as there are so many Government employees, and so many immigrants.......Turkeys don't vote for Christmas do they.

  • Comment number 16.

    I liked every single word spoken by both these two impressive guys this morning.
    No waffle, no empty promises, just clear sensible thoughts on what's got to be done to make Britain better.
    Just wondering how many more of us are going to vote tactically in order to get a hung parliament in the hope able Dr Vince Cable becomes our next Chancellor.

  • Comment number 17.

    The Liberal Democrat line that there is no moral or financial justification for obscene bonuses is broadly reflective of the public mood at large.

    A smaller city - I doubt it to any great extent; where is this relatively small cohort of investment bankers going to domicile itself?

  • Comment number 18.

    They got my vote if they're going after the cash-slobs in London.

  • Comment number 19.

    @13 wotw

    Actually old chap I didnt make that error and never claimed I did personally. My favourite car was a 1769cc diesel peugeot 25 diesel, not a beemer. As for extravigant holidays? No need to, i lived in devon and swam in the atlantic most days of my life. I am somewhat surprised at you assumptions friend, alas you have shown ur propensity for state education....or lack of

  • Comment number 20.

    I think the suggestion is fantastic - the best thing I have ever heard from the mouth of a politician if I am honest.

    If Labour or Conservatives have any sense, either one or both of them will adopt this policy - it is BRILLIANT!!!!

  • Comment number 21.

    Back to basics..........the world is NOT a great big melting pot..............that's an ideolised notion from the LSD 1960's. The world is divided into nations. Ergo, let us make our nation great once more. Please. We can. We simply need the cofidence to move forward. take decisions and lead the world, we really can do this. Before it is too late.

  • Comment number 22.

    A question for you all- What is the governments main aim and how would you reform the political system in the UK to achieve this? (WOTW I await your calls for a socialist dictatorship).

  • Comment number 23.

    Is this Clegg or has Vince Cable lost his marbles?

    This is a ridiculous policy showing just how out of touch the Lib Dems are.

    Leave commercial organisations to run their businesses as they choose. Only the public sector seems to reward failure with handouts and bonuses. I know of no commercial organisation that would reward its employees for failure.

    In spite of hyped, media-fuelled anger, the banks were not the cause of the crash. It was the hopeless regulation - and greedy governments ready to turn a blind eye to bankers' excesses as long as the tax was coming in to fuel their frenzied spending.

    It's "no" to Lib-dems from now on.

  • Comment number 24.

    Now here is a policy that really bites. I have never voted LibDem in my life and never will but maybe this could encourage the Tories to get in there and sort out the financial sector. If we had a hung parliament with a Tory/LibDem government this could be a good starting point for negotiations.

  • Comment number 25.

    Why don't they bring in the £2.5k rule in for everybody? Recruitment consultants, salespeople, see how they like it. A stupid idea from a party that is only gettign any attention because they might tip the balance. No serious economist would support these ideas - the banking sector in the UK still props up the economy.

  • Comment number 26.

    I find all this talk about what the banks did wrong, how the politicians compounded error after error all very interesting, but what I want to know is what can be done about it.

    Where are the design engineers, manufacturing experts, production people, who we will need to transform our economy? I think we have many of them in this country, but too many years of “The City” has forced many of them to seek careers in other areas, both of the world and economy.

    How can we rebalance our whole economy from something fluffy to something solid, what kind of manufacturing, and I assume it will have to be based on this, and services can we and should we offer that others abroad and at home will want to purchase?

  • Comment number 27.

    I welcome the Lib dems approach here---- there are a few problems with the Banks and Finance industry and the thread that runs through them is an arrogance, and a divorce from ordinary realities.... just as an underclass is no good for society, so to is this sort of bomb-proof overclass no good either.

    The recent revelations of how many ISA providers (not all of whom are Banks ) annihilate any real return of interest in a routine and run-of-the-mill way almost solely because 'they can', show this...and responding that a small ad in the Times newspaper is supposed to constitute not only the legal minimum of customer care but a perfectly acceptable level, just emphasises how distant they have become.

    The Lib dems will be criticised of course---but given there is a blindingly obvious problem that even the worst crash in history doesn't seem to have corrected---- then something needs to be done--- and if not this..then what?

    I personally feel having to take shares that can't be activated for five years---essentially options..... is fine.... I can't see anything wrong with it.... it then completely mimics how shareholder capitalism is meant to work..but doesn't anymore; and also replicates how small and medium businesses work in remuneration terms, as well---with short termism eschewed in favour of stable planning.

    I'd go for non execs on the Board, both from the workforce, as well as 'small shareholders' (where a reasonably sized community of small shareholders exists) as well..... so that the entire remuneration process becomes a constant process of clear justification of the reasons for decision making.... the 'time wasted in argument' would probably be far less than the management time wasted under the present system in calculating how far the rules can be pushed --such as the 'swerves' coming to light in the rulings regarding senior executives at Northern Rock today



  • Comment number 28.

    9. At 11:40am on 13 Apr 2010, what-to-do-now wrote:
    Forget Government, at the moment the bankers rule this country and this needs sorting!


    Most banks in this context are multinational corporations and, thanks to corporatisation, these corporations run the world. National governments can tinker here and there with the local economy but are not in control of wider economic issues. Look at Corus. It's owners (Tata) decided that after a contract was reneged upon, they would no longer fund Corus in the UK. There is nothing whatever the gov can do about it. Cadburys? Ready to close a UK plant and move production to (the cheaper) Poland. Same thing happened with Dyson. The motor industry is at the mercy of General Motors, Ford and a few Japanese outfits. And on...

    The government was happy enough to give the banks free rein while the tax was coming in. Now it's complaining about banks' profits. If it interferes too deeply banks will simply move their headquarters to less punitive places. We have to be very careful we don't isolate ourselves in the wider financial community.

    You're right. Forget governments. They might control our personal freedom but in a free market they control nothing of the financial world.

  • Comment number 29.

    #13. writingsonthewall wrote:

    "I (and many like me) didn't follow that mantra, did live the prudent life and are now being punished by Goverment intervention keeping interest rates at record lows for more than a year."

    Punished, WOTW?

    In a previous thread you boasted:

    "...when I remortgaged in October 2008 (lucky me, NR customer) I got a BoE +0.39% with my new bank"

    That hardly sounds like punishment to me - in fact, I'd suggest that you have done rather nicely out of this prolonged period of low interest rates.

  • Comment number 30.

    First Vince Cable implies that only the political class know how to govern and that business leaders (who make the money that pays the taxes) have no idea. Now he thinks that bankers should not get bonuses but fails to mention all the public sector workers who get bonuses over £2,500. The Lib Dems seem to be the party of big government and the public sector with little interest in the people who have to pay for it.

  • Comment number 31.

    # 10. At 11:45am on 13 Apr 2010, yam yzf wrote:


    > the banks/building societies that needed bailing out
    > were primarily retail or investment banks only.


    People would listen, if you told the whole truth, instead of half-truths. Barclays DID need bailing out, by Arabs. RBS was not only an investment bank. Lloyds was not only a retail bank. NR funding dried up _because_ of casino-like activities somewhere or other. Glass-Steagal would have prevented some of this - we could have let RBS and Lloyds fall if they'd had no retail customers, and they would not have had such insupportable debts if they had been wholly retail banks. Either/or is fine, both retail and casino is not OK.

  • Comment number 32.

    Re: #18: "They got my vote if they're going after the cash-slobs in London."
    Trouble is, the £2,500 limit will hit 'ordinary' bank employees too. It won't do anything to address the risk culture, since the decisions are made be people earning bonusses 10 or 100 ties that amount.
    It's pure populism which is far too blunt to have a desired effect.

  • Comment number 33.

    #9. what-to-do-now wrote:

    "Wake up, wages have NOT kept up with inflation over the past 10 years!"

    Between Q2 2000 and Q1 2010, the increase in the CPI was 21.3%. During the same period, average wages rose by 39.5%.

  • Comment number 34.

    I remember reading that one bank had sacked a senior analyst for warning the Board of the inevitable credit crunch. So they knew, yet they kept on doing what they were doing. I believe this is a crime called "conversion". No one has been indicted. I often wonder if the tax revenues the banks paid to the treasury were more than the £750,000,000,000 used to save their sorry behinds.
    Do the bankers in question pay their fair share of taxes? I am led to believe they do not. Surely, it is a matter of respect for self and country to pay taxes. Whatever happened to the concept of "team"? Team Britain!
    We need decent, capable people running our banks; people who are of the community and who understand the needs of the community. The bankers who brought the country to its knees are not so clever that we can't replace them. If they had been we would not be in the mess we are in now.

  • Comment number 35.

    #23. doctor bob wrote:

    Leave commercial organisations to run their businesses as they choose. Only the public sector seems to reward failure with handouts and bonuses. I know of no commercial organisation that would reward its employees for failure.

    How about Fred Goodwin? RBS and other banks that took the bail-out money to pay their staff "bonuses". What about "Golden Parachute" schemes? I wonder what Willie Walsh will get once he's finished turning BA into Ryan Air? The managers of (poorly performing)national industries who made fortunes out of privatisation? Share bonuses for Network Rail? What world do you live in where this is commercial success?

    Oh and your second point has all the logic of saying "it's not the burglars fault your house has been emptied, you should have put better bars in the windows and hired a private security firm rather than rely on the Police."

    If we maintain the current facade of a 2 party, first past the post, "democracy", we are choosing between "Animal Farm" and "1984".
    The Lib-Dems offer the only real alternative to a Britain micro-managed by Banks and Multi-National Corporations. They are the "practical protest vote" that might just work (they can't really do any worse can they? Placed in "receivership" and sold into indentured servitude by Govt. policy, I see no sign of daylight ahead without fundamental changes to our political system. 35 years of sleaze, corruption and autocratic leadership and still no sign of any change?
    Vote for change - But do you really believe the Tories can offer it?

  • Comment number 36.

    This all amounts to saying something popular but silly to win votes knowing full well you'll never have to go through with it. Nick Clegg ought to examine his own incentives first.

    The rewards shouldn't be the issue, regulation needs to focus on the way the profits are made.

    He doesn't dare to talk about the real remedy to this which would be to increase the ratio of deposits to loans at banks and stop them relying on wholesale funding. After all this is what caused NR's problems. They won't say this because it would lead to higher mortgage rates and that wouldn't be very populist. It is easier to just talk about the bonuses.

    A bonus cap would be pretty easy to work around, and what about other incentives like growing the profit margins or size just for the prestige amongst business folk. The rewards shouldn't be the issue, regulation needs to focus on the way the profits were made. Again this is not black and white enough for politicians.

  • Comment number 37.

    25 Endangerment wrote:

    'No serious economist would support these ideas - the banking sector in the UK still props up the economy.'

    -----------------------------

    Ahhh!....fresh meat!

    I think you'll find it's the other way round...the economy of the UK still props up the banking sector.

    The BoE is still running it's asset guarantee facility to the whole UK banking system.

    Also remember, wholesale credit card defaults have yet to kick in. This will get worse when the BoE interest rates push upwards...many people are already on the limit. At the moment banks are only getting 20p in the pound from the debt collection agencies.

  • Comment number 38.

    Anyway, to state the obvious, it'll be an unusual investment banker who votes Lib Dem in the coming election.

    So, if they don't like it, then that means it must be just what we want. It, along with a number of other policies get my vote (like this video too https://www.invincecable.org.uk/%29

  • Comment number 39.

    Did someone say the Lib Dems were credible?

    Any Lib Dem MP will be laughing at the public for the duration of their term if this is successful trick. God help us all if these people are the best leaders we have and this is how they intend on manipulating the uneducated and disengaged public. It is even worse if they believe this is anything but the most cynical ploy.

    Regardless of what you think was the cause of the current state of the economy and what should be done about it if you sign up to this you are being played like a fool, it is nothing but insulting. At best the provisions could be sidestepped by anyone with a modicum of intelligence and without breaking stride, at worst they are detrimental to everyone in this country. No performance related pay for a board member - are they being serious?

    I am sorry but anyone swayed but such sensationalist, meaningless, nonsense should not be allowed to vote. More importantly though anyone who peddles it should not be entitled to run.

  • Comment number 40.

    Oh dear, its bash the banker time. The one thing I hate about elections is that the parties all try and come up with popular policies targeted at certain sections of the electorate. I suspect the Lib Dems know this will NEVER become law because even with a hung parliament, these fairly draconian measures wouldn't get enacted - the Lib Dems would go for Proportional representation as their price for support.

    So easy to say this stuff when its all moonshine.

  • Comment number 41.

    # 10. At 11:45am on 13 Apr 2010, yam yzf wrote:


    > the banks/building societies that needed bailing out
    > were primarily retail or investment banks only.


    True, I think the perceived problem of invidual organisations being too diversified is overplayed. Instead there is the similar problem of organisations being too inter-dependent - so risks taken in one organisation in one part of the world have the possibility to spread around the whole system, making it inherently unstable.

    Any separation should therefore be targeted at keeping the whole retail and investment sectors completely separate - not just ensurng that individual organisations are in one camp or the other.

    Then NR and B&B wouldn't have been able to use the facilities of investment banks to finance their 'growth' - and the collapse of Lehmans would have only have had ramifications in the 'casinos'.

    Whether this sort of seperation is in any way feasible is another question all together - which is I suspect why not even the Lib Dems are proposing it.

  • Comment number 42.

    Except maybe for dummies everybody knows that Barclays was not bailed out. Barclays was and is a profitable bank. The reason they needed more capital is not because of losses they experienced but because the regulator changed the capital ratios. As it was a profitable bank it did not have problem to find private investor as they knew it would be a profitable investment. They already got the dividend of their investment. As far as I know the tax payer are still waiting (and probably for many years!!!) the dividend of their investment in NR, RBS or Llyods...this is the difference with a bail out!





  • Comment number 43.

    33. At 1:55pm on 13 Apr 2010, rbs_temp

    That is a somewhat simplistic use of statistics though. What about the income spread over that period? Was all of that delta just fat cat bonuses?

    A quick look at OECD income dispersion figures suggests that real terms income improvements favour those with higher incomes.

  • Comment number 44.

    # 33. At 1:55pm on 13 Apr 2010, rbs_temp wrote:

    > Between Q2 2000 and Q1 2010, the increase in the CPI
    > was 21.3%. During the same period, average wages rose by 39.5%.


    That's all down to sir greedie goodwin et al. Take out
    the cash-slobs, and things look bad...

  • Comment number 45.

    Loss-making banks would be banned from paying bonuses.

    This can only be achieved, if a completely different method of clear and transparent accounting is created....and i just dont see it happening

  • Comment number 46.

    #4

    If you want people not be greedy, you need to start with a new species. The problem isn't greed; it's that greed was seen as a benefit to the system.

  • Comment number 47.


    It makes perfect sense to segregate retail banking and investment banking. When I put my money in a current account on the High Street I want to know it will still be there when I want it back - I want the certainty of knowing that some big shot in the City isn't riding volatile markets using my money.

    At the same time if I want to take a bigger risk in exchange for a bigger reward I see no reason why I shouldn't be entitled to invest my money with that big shot so that he can ride the volatile markets and hopefully bring me a big return.

    Under such a segregated regime it is clear that the retail banking operation should not be making huge fortunes - if they do end up making vast profits it simply means they need to be offering a better deal to their customers. As such it is reasonable to expect their executives will not be paid huge bonuses. At the same time if the big shot riding the volatile markets does turn my modest investment into a huge sum of money there is no reason why s/he should not be very well rewarded for their efforts.

    If a car salesman managed to sell £100m worth of cars in a year nobody would bat an eyelid at £5-10m in commission. Nobody seems bothered by Premiership footballers making millions every year. So why is it such a problem for a successful banker to make similar figures?

  • Comment number 48.

    I think one of the painful things this country must face up to and do (as well as cutting back on everything that helps the poor), is to wean the economy off bankers and finance sector worship. That "industry" is not reliable, but simply a totally self serving system that leaches the energy from the rest of us.

    I welcome the Lib Dem proposals, and will definitely be voting for them.

    As for having played a small part in creating this crisis, I certainly did not.

    I never had debts, buying things only with what I earned, and saved the rest. After being made redundant, I'm now on a low part time wage, and I also look after my aged Mum. I understand the true value of money.

    So although I did not join in that debt bubble party, I get the feeling I'll be one of the Great Ignorant doing the clearing up.

    I would greatly appreciate not being taxed as I earn much less than £10,000 p/a so that's another reason I will be voting Lib Dem.

  • Comment number 49.

    #23, Dr Bob wrote: I know of no commercial organisation that would reward its employees for failure.
    Really! What do you think the whole row over the bankers is about?

  • Comment number 50.

    Too many on hear forget that Capitalism died with the bailouts.

    banks only exist now because of trillions worldwide in tax money. Taken without public consultation or consent. This will never be forgotten. Ever.

    Bankers should have applied their own rules: Those that couldn't stand on their own, should have been left to die.

    I'd be too embarrassed to come bleating on here to defend my ridiculous pay if I was one of those state supported bankers. Which is all of them.

    At some point in the future someone, either the government or the people will take the city in hand. (An economic paradigm that requires perpetual growth, on a planet with limited resources, a finite ammount of oil and a ballooning population, will ensure this.)

    I'd say to all the bankers on here, accept the changes. Act like men and take the punishment when it comes.

    Its going to happen whether you like it or not.

  • Comment number 51.

    33. At 1:55pm on 13 Apr 2010, rbs_temp wrote:
    #9. what-to-do-now wrote:

    "Wake up, wages have NOT kept up with inflation over the past 10 years!"

    Between Q2 2000 and Q1 2010, the increase in the CPI was 21.3%. During the same period, average wages rose by 39.5%.


    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Average wages include those who are highly paid....including the elite bankers.

    80% of the UK wealth is now with the top 20% of the population. The poor have got poorer and the rich richer, and it's the poor who are having to put up with reduced saleries now so the gap will widen. Read the Spirit Level... the UK is now the 2nd most unequal country in the world..behind the USA. Also, the average house price has increased significantly more than 39.5% over this period. More than doubled from 75k to around 160k.

    My daughter will start her adult working life in 50k debt from her University education. My son pays over 1.5k for car insurance (and hasn't ever had an accident!) What chance have young people got these days?

    Labour are in bed with the banks which is why we bailed two out around 2000 by selling our Gold at rock bottom prices...it cost us 7 billion. Labour will never stand up to the banks, IMHO they are bankers puppets.

  • Comment number 52.

    #31 Jacques C

    "People would listen, if you told the whole truth, instead of half-truths. Barclays DID need bailing out, by Arabs"

    Barclays raised money from external investors. BAU some would say. Yes, the terms were higher than normal, but no bank would have got normal terms. The investors saw an opportunity and took it.

    " RBS was not only an investment bank. Lloyds was not only a retail bank."

    Funny, I explicitly said what their problems were.

    " NR funding dried up _because_ of casino-like activities somewhere or other."

    No, their funding dried up because of confidence - not helped by sensationalist reporting.


  • Comment number 53.

    By the way...my son is fortunate enough to be doing an old fashioned degree level apprentiship in engineering. He's already been offered a job in New Zealand once he's qualified and he's already filled out the forms to go. Things are more equal there and house prices are still reasonable despite the fact that the average wage is lower.

    I'm trying to persuade my daughter to do the same so she won't be saddled with this debt.

  • Comment number 54.

    This is why the banks need sorting:-

    https://thesecrettruth.co.uk/wordpress/?p=580

  • Comment number 55.

    53. At 6:29pm on 13 Apr 2010, what-to-do-now wrote:

    By the way...my son is fortunate enough to be doing an old fashioned degree level apprentiship in engineering. He's already been offered a job in New Zealand once he's qualified and he's already filled out the forms to go. Things are more equal there and house prices are still reasonable despite the fact that the average wage is lower.

    I'm trying to persuade my daughter to do the same so she won't be saddled with this debt.
    ..................................

    I don't know about NZ but I can say my daughter left here after her degree to go to Canada. I can honestly say that although my wife wishes she hadn't done this it was the best move she ever made both in terms of financial rewards for doing the same job as here and the quality of life.
    I hope it works out as well for your kids if they make the jump.

  • Comment number 56.

    Why does everything have to be so analytical,it,s really very simple why not tie the bankers compensation to performance,pay the bankers according to the welllbeing of their banks,stifling compensation could also stifle individual accomplishment,some bankers are really good at what they do,they would get to suffer because of the incompetents.[Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 57.

    25. At 1:18pm on 13 Apr 2010, Endangerment wrote: the banking sector in the UK still props up the economy.

    Come on admit it now, which one do you work for?

  • Comment number 58.

    23. At 1:06pm on 13 Apr 2010, doctor bob wrote:
    "Leave commercial organisations to run their businesses as they choose. Only the public sector seems to reward failure with handouts and bonuses. I know of no commercial organisation that would reward its employees for failure."

    I'm afraid the prognosis is not good Doc - the delusions have now become so severe I'm going to have to recommend quarantine - you've become a Terminal Obsessive Regressive Yapper but more importantly you've reached stage 5 - havn't seen one of those since this grocer's daughter in the 80's!

  • Comment number 59.

    Well, tactics will certainly need to be refined but at least the Libs have got the stomach for the fight!

    What's Little Lord Fauntelroy gonna do? Serve them sub standard champers when they're socialising?

    Jacques Cartier - you are a refreshing breath of fresh air, neutralising the niff from the defenders of the indefensible - keep up the good work!

  • Comment number 60.

    I work in the front office of an investment bank and I was a Lib Dem supporter until today. No surprise there. I see this as a weak attempt to grab a headline by banker bashing again.

    Attacking bonuses or greed is pointless. The problem was a lack of suitable regulation and that is the current Government's fault. However, you can't tell me that any other party would have implemented stricter regulation on lending practices in 2005-2007 when they realised there might be a problem. It would have been too late by then to implement anything.

    The people that made the wrong decisions have all since been fired and the banks are left with good people who are mostly very clever people who earn a good living dealing with very complex derivatives and structures and making sure the risk limits are observed. Everything is about risk these days and it's drummed into us at every opportunity. I would say it's safe to assume that it's the first thing we have to think about before making any transaction.

    Having a government penalise me in future for working very carefully with my new mindset is therefore pointless. The damage is done and the lessons learned. I should take my skills and apply them to something else. If everyone does the same, then the tax revenues from banking (corporation tax, VAT, PAYE, NI, etc.) will largely disappear and the city will be reliant on services, excluding financial, which was by far, the biggest contributor to the UK's GDP. This is like cutting your nose off to spite your face. The lost revenues will have to come from somewhere else like income tax, VAT, NI, Council tax, blah blah. Yes, it was a terrible crisis, but we have all learned something from it and it won't happen again. Sort out the regulation and monitor the future signals and that will be enough. Don't simply take it out on those who are left holding the poisoned chalice because that will do more damage than is really needed.

    I create very complex, but non-risky investment products. In 2008, I personally made my employer £20M profit. I didn't get any bonus at all and that was the bank's decision. In 2009, I personally made my employer £35M profit and I got a bonus of about £50k. [That's 0.14% commission, not 5-10%!!!]. Of that, I paid £20k in tax and NI and cannot claim any of it back and do not intend to. Does anyone think this is unreasonable? If a government capped this at at £2,500, I would leave the industry and find another use for my Math PhD and MBA. I can make more money consulting or in sales and I certainly can't pay my mortgage with shares that cannot be sold for 5 years. It's a very unattractive proposition and in my view, completely futile.

  • Comment number 61.

    I'm glad finally that one of the main political parties is addressing the two main problems of our time - UK plc's addiction to debt, and the conspiracy amongst the banks to talk together and extract excessive profits for their own personal benefit, by artificially setting prices for this debt.

    Most people appear not to be able to see it!..... that by persuading us to borrow we become beholden to the banks, and once we are beholden to them, then if they act as a huge complex cartel they can make this absolutely massive transfer of wealth for their own pockets. They are effectively levying a tax on us.
    The financial sector in the UK has perpetrated the most enormous heist on the population by firstly convincing ordinary people to get into debt, and secondly by rigging the market.

    I suppose it is not surprising the extent to which the 50m or so of us have let this happen without apparently noticing - given that the group who have done this to us (.... maybe 0.2% of the population?) are all in the capital, have huge lobbying power, and "know the right people" (quick question... what percentage of the new Conservative prospective parliamentary candidates have come from working in the City?.... Answer: approx 33%).

    We need to sort the City out and, on the evidence so far of the three main parties manifesto, the Lib Dems are the ones to sort it out.

    I'll be voting tactically to get a 'hung' parliament, hoping that Vince will become Chancellor.

  • Comment number 62.

    60. At 01:17am on 14 Apr 2010, topper123 wrote:

    "I create very complex, but non-risky investment products."

    Let's assume your creations are "non-risky," this clearly was not the case with the creations of other quants in 2004-2008.

    "Having a government penalise me in future for working very carefully with my new mindset is therefore pointless. The damage is done and the lessons learned. "

    Lessons may be learned, by your good self. However, it's not good enough to just learn a lesson, given the depth and broad extent of the fallout of all the banking trash we've had to suffer, sprawling far and wide out of the USA and The City, e.g with taxpayer bailouts. What is needed IN ADDITION to the lessons, is LAWS! We've done light touch regulation and Self regulation - it failed, period! (Yes this was the Governments fault - they make laws, bankers don't. Our Politicians were taken to the cleaners by the bankers and have been both naive and obsequious towards them, and big business in general.)

    "Yes, it was a terrible crisis, but we have all learned something from it and it won't happen again."

    Events, in banking and finance, will happen that will force you to reflect upon this. I don't need to say anything else, the world of business will do this for me.

    "Of that, I paid £20k in tax and NI and cannot claim any of it back and do not intend to. Does anyone think this is unreasonable? If a government capped this at at £2,500, I would leave the industry and find another use for my Math PhD and MBA. I can make more money consulting or in sales and I certainly can't pay my mortgage with shares that cannot be sold for 5 years."

    Sadly if I was in the same position as you I have to say I might also be tempted to be as selfish as well. (Having to pay off a mortgage in 5 years, as opposed to one year? That's not that harsh though?)But even if the shame being felt in The City is being permeated to you, I do not accept that people who have been there longer will suddenly and forever more, be more measured about what consitutes a sensible and reasonable level of profit. Without new laws, to limit greedy behaviour, greed will come back. None of "the Shamed" went to jail, they all left with massive pensions. (Two ex-Northern Rock clowns have merely been fined. I say merely because the amounts are large, by the standards of an average person, but not by these ex-directors levels of pay and reward.)

    I am no City banker - but I'm going to be paying for their mistakes, through higher taxes, for years! Bankers, such as yourself, should be better advised to appreciate the meaning of humility. Whilst you all still think such a virtue is beneath you, those outside of The City can quite reasonably take the view that bankers are just pond life. (Mind how you speak to that shop assitant at lunchtime - they're just a person, same as you.)

  • Comment number 63.

    Oh dear? Is this the best you are handsomely paid to write Mr Peston, on a micro aspect of LibDem financial policy and discussion?

    It's difficult to be impartial - but the LibDem policy of taking workers out of income tax of their first £10K will hugely benefit and help retain, not in order of importance, huge numbers of essential frontline staff:
    Refuse/recycling workers
    Nurses
    Firefighters
    Paramedics
    Armed Forces personnel
    Police
    Water treatment workers

    AND the majority of ALL front-line workers, serving our communities 24/7 not mentioned, but would be sorely missed and struggle everyday to meet their basic utility and council tax bills.

    Furthermore, the 24/7 frontline workers have to use a car to get to work on time and get home safely when public transport is either unavailable or too unsafe to travel on?

  • Comment number 64.

    Hi Bob,
    I see the Rock Boss got a bit of a dint to the old Bonus - Golly!
    Good job the other bank bosses that were paid for their expertise said, they didn't know what they were doing, or else they could have been in trouble as well - phew!!!.

  • Comment number 65.

    Could people that say the libs are stopping bank bonuses please see that the bonus is to be paid in shares. They cannot be sold for 5 years. That means that for the next five years the bankers will be tied into a period of little 'extra' renumeration. After 5 years they will then get a yearly bonus as the shares roll over. Its a very good incentive not to take extreme risks, don't you think? If a few of them leave I personally hope they take some others from the city with them such as claims direct solicitors and estate agents. So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen etc

  • Comment number 66.

    I'm not sure and maybe some of you fanacial wizards out there will correct me if i'm wrong but isnt the whole financial system based on debt? from the IMF down to the local credit union?

    Is it not true that banks create money out of nothing using fractional reserve banking?

    Is it not true that they way this happens is I borrow £100 to pay a builder to do a job from bank A. He pays this into bank B who can then lend £1000 to Mr decorator who pays his supplier who banks it with bank A who then lends £10,000 and so on and on which means the BANKS not the GOVERNMENTS are creating/printing money that dose not actually exsist?

    Would it not be better for countries to control the money supply more agressivly maybe even be actually in charge of it?

    I feel that this is the major ELEPHANT in the room and that we are being prevented by the banks & others from seeing but we desperately need to start again and deny the banks permission to create OUR MONEY !!!

  • Comment number 67.

    Absolutely RECOMMEND 63 !!

    Well said sir.

  • Comment number 68.

    My Wife earnt a great deal of business for her employer one of the major high street Banks - She got real customers to invest, take out loans etc based on good advice - She went over to the Business side and won major business clients to her high street branch for this she had an anual sallary of around £17K + bonuses of upto £3K for clients with upto 8 million in invesment for the branch. The point I makeing is that real people and real work are involved in Banking and the branch staff earn earthly salaries so whats wrong with £3K + for those on £17K ? - Nick Clegg HAVE YOU THOUGH THIS ONE OUT ?. There are people actually earning money for the bank made through legitimate means based on serstainable accounts and invesments - The problems started with the phantom investments and loan guarentees in the USA sub prime Mortgage business in other word very bad loans for people with no collateral

  • Comment number 69.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 70.

    Splitting commercial and retail banking, sure, that can be done by our government. But curbing the bonus culture needs to be done on an international scale to limit the risk of London losing out on its place in the top 2 of world financial centres. If we were to implement UK-only anti-bonus policy the banks would just bugger off to New York or Zurich.
    A lot of Liberal supporters don't seem to understand the benefit of the huge tax revenues that our country generates from banking and other financial activity. Lose those revenues and you can kiss goodbye to your excessive state-spending. Of course things need to be done but Cable and Clegg will destroy the sector that our country so heavily relies on.

  • Comment number 71.

    All this mean a smaller banking sector, if yes bring it in quick let them all disappear overseas and lets focus on building a "proper industry" , one based on manufacturing and selling things!
    We have enough spivs to carry eg 1)estate agents(commission),2)travel agents(commission), 3) recruitment agents(commission), 4) insurance agents (commission), 5) bankers(commission).
    Is the UK a spiv based economy now?
    Add to this the property pimps (sorry land lords) and does anybody go out to work and earn a real wage?

  • Comment number 72.

    "4. At 11:06am on 13 Apr 2010, Noel Woodroffe wrote:
    Seems to me like everyone is bashing the scape-goat banks. However, we should be bashing ourselves for following a commercial mantra, for massive consumerism, for holding money so dear. That is the problem, GREED. The banks merely enabled people to be greedy and profited (or not) from so doing."

    Absolutely correct. There have been a number of calls over the past 10 years for credit to be made less easy to acquire, and for mortgages to require such things as 10% minimum deposits or to be limited to 3 x salary, but every time "the people" (and, it has to be said, the newspapers that bemoan the economic problems) screamed against it.

    Ever since the dawn the early 1980s Thatcherism (and lets not kid ourselves into thinking that Blair followed anything else) people have been trying to get on the bandwagon of Casino capitalism - buying houses in order to make money out of them. Unfortunately, like any other casino game the day eventually comes when the roullette wheel doesn't spin in your favour and you "bust". Once the greed gets to that critical meltdown level, the whole thing collapses. That is what we have just seen over the past 18 months.

    The banks tried to profit from it - so did "The Taxpayer".

    When the going was good, everyone was a cash jingling smiling capitalist. Once you "bust" its everyone's fault but your own. Quick! Find a scapegoat! The banks - they were simply doing what the public wanted them to do! The government? Well....yea, New Labour was as capitalist as the Tories, but come on people....you were the ones who wanted them to change that way! You wouldn't have elected them otherwise!

    I guess what it comes down to is the simple realisation that if you want to play finance games with the big boys, you should never gamble what you can't afford to lose. That goes for the banks, but it also goes for "The Taxpayer"......

  • Comment number 73.

    25. At 1:18pm on 13 Apr 2010, Endangerment wrote:

    Why don't they bring in the £2.5k rule in for everybody? Recruitment consultants, salespeople, see how they like it. A stupid idea from a party that is only gettign any attention because they might tip the balance. No serious economist would support these ideas - the banking sector in the UK still props up the economy.


    That's an excellent idea. Abolish bonuses and then salaries will have to be correct. No more salesmen collecting their commission when they have undersold something.

    So if the banking sector props up the economy, as the taxpayer props up the banks, who is supporting the taxpayer?

  • Comment number 74.

    72. "Ever since the dawn the early 1980s Thatcherism"

    Let's not forget those other thatcher triumphs, privatisation of the Utilities and the railways, together with selling every council house below market price, and spending all that oil revenue.

    71. No. All real industries have been offshored.

  • Comment number 75.

    Ah ha....Cable.... is this the same Vincent Cable who was decrying banks for paying for their cashiers etc a miserlye a once a year £30 lunch as reported in the Yorkshire post ( citing the taxpayer) the Christmas before last , yet was ignoring his fellow MP's excesses ( funded by the tax payer) within their own expenses pot at the same time.

    Really on top of the big issues of the day and ahead of the game isn't our Vincent ???

    Find a populist headline and dear old Vince will be supporting it - just why did he disaffect from Labour ??

    For those that believe his bluster, I'm afraid your view makes you see see no further than the headlines.

    He may have achieved a populist position, but his depth of thinking and real insight into the future, is one that does not bear thinking about.

    Having read just a sample of comments in this thread after writing this piece I am comforted that many others are not sucked in and seduced by his rhetoric

  • Comment number 76.

    One final thing... Cable claims ( he just said so on TV on a Liberal broadcast )that doing away with tax for earnings under £10000 will save everyone £700. Perhaps he can explain how someone earning £6500 p.a. can get the £700.

    Just wondering ..like most of his words and figures they just don't agree.Just saying again what he thinks will bring him popular opinion.

    Lightweight.

 

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