EU plans to cap bankers’ bonuses have been slammed in London’s Canary Wharf, home to many global banks. The provisional deal would see bankers face an automatic cap set at a par with their salaries which could only be raised if the bank’s shareholders voted in favour.
But many in the British capital see it as an unfair restriction on their trade.
“Sports stars they make a lot of money don’t they? And there is no limit on what they can make, so I’m not sure you want to cap bankers‘ bonuses,” said one man.
Another banker was even more forthright in his criticisms, describing the idea as: “Anti-capitalist because if you have a grocer and he does really well and sells loads of fruit, no-one would say ‘he’s making too much money, let’s cap his income’!”
But the EU’s Internal Market Commissioner does not believe the curbs will drive banks out of the City of London – Europe’s biggest financial centre – to less regulated markets outside the bloc like Switzerland or Singapore.
“It sets out, for the first time in the world’s banking history, liquidity rules. I may say that if these rules had existed for five or six years already, we probably wouldn’t have had the Lehman Brothers affair,” he said.
Barnier added that the rules would make Europe’s financial system more stable and transparent and are a fair response to taxpayers’ anger over the huge cost of rescuing imprudent banks.