My colleagues in the FT’s banking team have carried out a fascinating piece of research into the average pay and perks of top bankers in Europe and the US. They reveal tonight that the figure has risen 36 per cent in the last year for the 15 bank chief executives.
(These include Stephen Hester at RBS, up 15 per cent; Eric Daniels at Lloyds, up 68 per cent; Michael Geoghegan at HSBC, up 1 per cent and John Varley at Barclays, up 239 per cent.)
Angela Knight, head of the British Bankers Association, claimed that the “real story” was the progress in ensuring that bonuses have been deferred, paid in shares and subject to clawback and performance targets.
That is one interpretation; the other is that the bank chiefs have given themselves a rise in remuneration equivalent to seven times inflation. This is despite the fact that many of the banks in question have hardly shone in terms of profits; fulfiling political lending expectations; achieving substantial share price rises – or many other obvious yardsticks of success.
I didn’t blog yesterday on Ed Miliband’s “fightback” speech but we covered it here on ft.com. The main thrust was for civic responsibility from those on benefits and corporate bosses alike – demanding greater transparency on pay ratios between the highest paid in companies and the average employee. Tonight’s new data adds fuel to that argument.
Meanwhile look out for headlines about George Osborne’s Mansion House speech to the City tomorrow. We reveal tonight that the Chancellor will back the recommendations of Sir John Vickers for ringfencing of essential retail operations within banks.