Friday, 22 January 2010
Obama and the Banker quick shuffle
Morgan Stanley allocated 62% of its income to staff remuneration this week - the highest ever in the history of investment banking!
So on the surface today's huge announcement by Obama that effectively Glass-Steagall was back and that banks had to be split up to reduce risk seems like a victory for the little guy.
However, Wall Street paid for the Presidency and the senior economic advisers are always ex-bankers.
What I think today's announcement is about is protecting the income of the wealthy. Investment Banks will now get out of the TARP and regulated system, where senior management remuneration is monitored and controlled by the US Government. Instead, the prop desk guys get to go to hedge funds where the remuneration is orgasmic beyond their dreams.
The Investment bankers can become partnerships or private companies and remuneration and bonus payments will disappear from public view. The public is left looking at utility banks where earnings are not so astronomical, although high.
Look at Goldman, I bet it can't wait to not be a bank holding company anymore, it never wanted to be in the first place.
All this US action will affect the UK banks, HSBC and Barclays will have had a blow to their strategies, especially the latter which bought the US Lehman operations.
This is a great cover for bankers keeping their earnings through a populist measure. Wall Street ain't stupid after all....