Sunday, 8 February 2009

'Public Bank Bonus'


Alistair Darling was on the Andrew Marr show this morning, making it clear that the Government is going to have a quiet word with Stephen Hester about the RBS bank bonus's. The Labour tribe are in full swing in demanding that no money be paid out. The BBC mischievously says RBS is about to pay out £1 billion in bonus's for a bank that has lost £28 billion this year.

George Osborne was quite clear to say on the show too that senior management should not get the money this year.

This is a difficult piece of populism to avoid. No one who has lost their job due to recession brought on by the banks is going to be happy with people making six figure and more sums of money.

Now that RBS and LLoyds have such chunks of state ownership the politicians can get their fingers dirty just as they love too.

The easy answer surely is too defer money to be paid when the banks is back in profit, even perhaps to pay in shares that will only be worth anything if the banks are not fully nationalised and instead are sold back to the public sector.

This is the solution, I wonder why the politicians don't want to mention this and just concentrate on pure populist stands?

16 comments:

Houdini said...

Politicians and civil servants are fiddling their way to massive bonuses too, and these are people who have made nothing over the decades at all, and how many billions been pissed up the wall? MPs allowances? Civil servants bonuses like HMRC? Pensions?

The banks should just turn their bonuses into allowances or whatever, and will find a way.

Rightly so if useless bastards like those in Government can find a way.

Savonarola said...

Non Exec directors should forfeit all remuneration for 2008 and return monies paid.No director should receive a penny.
The little people should get what is appropriate. Prop traders may have contractual arrangements.
Paper bonuses should be at high hurdles.

Goodnight Vienna said...

Houdini is right. When listening to Darling this morning I kept thinking of Jacqui Smith, Lords Moonie, Truscott et al; the bankers are only following the example of some politicians.

It really is long overdue to have a massive, root & branch clean-up of the corrupt, bureaucratic mess. Shares rather than cash payments sound like an excellent way forward (permanently) but then what do I know? I'm not a banker.

One aspect I'm not happy about is the government 'banker-bashing' to deflect scrutiny away from their own complicity.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Actually, The Badger had one of his lucid moments during the AM interview, and pointed out that roughly half of the increase in household and business borrowing over the last ten years was from abroad, and that they now want it back.

Faced with this simple, easily verifiable fact, I think it's time to go back to the drawing board for a lot of people...

dearieme said...

"roughly half of the increase in household and business borrowing over the last ten years was from abroad, and that they now want it back." Aye, well I didn't borrow it and do not wish to pay it back. If the banks and the punters are insolvent, let 'em go bankrupt. Hands off my money, you socialist bastards!

AntiCitizenOne said...

Maybe the government should have waited until the bank was in administration before using taxpayers cash?

Anonymous said...

I have a friend who works in a branch of Lloyds. He works particularly hard to support his family in the way he wants. Because of this he has made a ton of money for Lloyds, and has every right to expect the bonus that is due to him. That the government is encouraging the vultures to villify anyone working for a bank to the point where apparently we can stick our hands in their pocket is pretty low. But, there's no stunt below new labour when it comes to gaining popularity. Thankfully though people seem to see through it.

Anonymous said...

How about they work out how much would be in the bonus pool if the taxpayer had NOT bailed them out, and work with that?

I think I know what it would come to.

As for the guy who worked really hard but his empoyer's business still tanked - well hard luck sunshine, you were badly managed; your efforts were all wasted. Go and work for a profitable outfit.

Gannet said...

Darling reminds me vividly of Bertie Wooster trying to persuade his fellow members of the Drones Club to take a rational course of action. On the whole Bertie makes more sense.

CityUnslicker said...

ACO - Bank's don't go into administration, they liquidate instantly. I would advocate that for the smaller banks like Wreck and Bingo, but not for RBS/HBOS/Lloyds - way too much collateral damage to make it worth it.
bad as the assets are, don't sell at the bottom of the market if it can be avoided....

Anonymous said...

Some former colleagues work at RBS where they had an excellent year and would ordinarily get a wopping bonus.

The government's pronouncements all have a caveat in them about, eg "not awarding bonuses for failure" means they will award bonuses for success.

The irony is that previously RBS paid bonuses in cash. This year they may get lots of shares, which if the more optimistic projections occur could give them an uplift of multiples.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if all the MPs and the Treasury will be forsaking their pay? Holding breath....

tory boys never grow up said...

Funny you never heard this argument about how those who worked in sucessful parts of businesses should have their jobs saved (let alone paid bonuses) when the business as a whole failed, when busineeses outside the financial sector were going to the wall during the 70s and 80s outside the South East. The arrogance of some of these people is truly breathtaking.

As to paying bonuses in shares we need to be very careful - perhaps we need to remember that one of the main reasons we got into these problems is because the market failed to price risk properly for many years, so making payments based upon what can be false share prices may not be the answer. For how many years were bank shares overpriced??

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