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Eagle Eye

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Ben Chu: A message to the useful idiots on bonuses

Posted by Eagle Eye
  • Wednesday, 16 December 2009 at 10:56 am
Excellent piece in the FT today on bonuses by Martin Taylor, a former Barclays executive, which all those who mistakenly believe that they're bravely holding the line against a populist mob on bankers' remuneration should read.

His point that the type of colossal bonuses we're talking about date only to the turn of the millennium is well made. Would the world's bankers really all go on strike if they were forced to return to the (already high) remuneration levels of a decade ago? Of course not.

Taylor's point about the dubious manner in which banks book "profits" is also important. Why on earth should vast bonuses be given to traders when it's entirely unclear whether their deals are going to pay out?

And to those who say "it's none of our business", remember the dreaded words "too big to fail".

Whether you believe its shareholders, or regulators, or governments directly that need to address this, the idea that it's not a problem is surely beginning to sound rather absurd.