A CURIOUS PAST LIES BEHIND THE FSA’S CITY BONUS CRACKDOWN

THE Financial Services Authority (FSA) was talking tough last week with plans to adopt EU rules that regulate bonuses at financial institutions. The rules include measures to ensure that 40 per cent of bonuses are paid over three years and that half of these deferred payments are non-cash.

This attempt to reform City bonuses is being led by FSA chief Hector Sants, who this year received £108,000 as a cash bonus, having waived his £130,000 bonus last year. But The Capitalist was surprised to discover that other governing members of the FSA had been on boards in charge of approving bonuses quite typical of City remuneration a few years ago.

Between 2006 and 2008, FSA chair Lord Turner was a director at Standard Chartered, whose board approved £11.2m in cash bonuses and £9.8m in bonus awards of shares. Similarly, while he was a director at United Business Media over the same period, the board gave out £4.9m in cash bonuses. Funny how times change, eh?

VICEROY’S LEGACY
Meanwhile, Indian officials meeting British diplomats last week might have had a minor – but rather symbolic – issue to press with the delegation.

Since 1944 all planes have had to register with the International Civil Aviation Organisation, which gives out aircraft identification codes. The problem is that India is none too pleased with its code: “VT” – which stands for “viceroy’s territory”. It was such a hot topic that in 2007 the government tried to get the code changed – which would mean re-registering and re-painting every Indian plane. But the ICAO said no: all the other letters were taken.

Cameron said last week he wants to “take the relationship between India and Britain to the next level”, so The Capitalist wondered if Downing Street would voice support for India’s campaign to change the code? Number 10 was unobliging: “It’s a matter for ICAO and India,” said a spokesman. Here’s hoping Dave at least managed to avoid a ride on one of the “viceroy’s” planes.

COLONIAL BLIMPS
Closer to home, Charles Stanley’s Stephen Peters has been trying to persuade investors that investment trusts still offer good value. But was the compliment deliberately backhanded?

Peters declared that “investment trusts are seen as the vehicle of choice for a retired Colonel Blimp, who peruses his portfolio movements over the daily newspaper”. He added there are “clear signs” that the sector is “run by a load of old fuddy-duddies”.

Does Britain’s oldest investment trust, the aptly named Foreign and Colonial Investment Trust, agree? Whether or not F&C is run by fuddy duddies is “not the sort of thing we’d comment on”, they said. Colonel Blimp, meanwhile, was unavailable for comment.

Victoria Bates is away.