Banks

Just when we thought the focus on Sir David Walker’s report would be pay, now the worry is about banks’ possibly making even more errors of judgment.

Richard Northedge questions whether there will be meddling by ‘amateur’ non-execs and investors, even if bankers can ‘get it wrong’ sometimes. Could they do more damage than Fred the Shred? But perhaps The Edge is right in questioning whether the Walker proposals might be made compulsory across all companies.  And he raises the issue of better training.

Channel 4′s John Snow has weighed into the debate as well, questioning whether banks can really change their greedy habits? Don’t hold your breath on getting more transparency, concludes the C4 news host.

Should London’s bankers be shaking in their boots – or watching their wallets – after the release of the Walker Review published this morning?

A large amount of attention has been paid to proposals on bankers’ remuneration, one of 39 recommendations in Sir David Walker’s report. Bonuses are once again in the headlines due to Goldman Sachs boosting the pay of its staff back to pre-boom levels.

Sir David, a former chairman of Morgan Stanley International, wants bank boards’ remuneration committees to take on far more work, scrutinising the pay of anyone who earns more than the average board-level executive.

The FT’s City editor Andrew Hill says that this move was a surprise with a tougher than expected constraint on bankers’ bonuses. The challenge, of course, remains whether any of these proposals will prevent another banking crisis.

Indeed, a push to disclose the pay and bonuses of City high-flyers dominated some discussion this morning on the FT’s Alphaville site, even before the report was published.

While hopes for greater transparency on the part of banks seems to be the gist of government and business reaction, the blogosphere needs convincing.

The BBC’s business editor Robert Peston questions whether banks can really change their habits. Indeed, some question whether a flurry of reports on banking will generate anything more than just comment.

Interestingly, another angle to be followed could be concerns that Sir David’s proposals will reduce the international competitiveness of the City. Sir David has tried to head this off already by saying ‘phooey‘ to such criticism.

Newsblog



Follow the news with reports from the FT's newsrooms and correspondents across the globe.
Track on twitter

About the authors

Leyla Boulton is an editor on the FT's main newsdesk
Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson is the FT's media editor
Robin Harding is an FT correspondent in Tokyo
George Parker is the FT's political editor
Sean Smith is an editor on the FT's international companies desk

FT blogs