FSA hauls in bank execs over bonuses

TOP officials from Britain’s largest banks have met at the Financial Services Authority (FSA) to discuss the regulator’s proposed crackdown on banker’s bonuses and pay.

Last month heads of remuneration from each of the top banks met at the financial watchdog to discuss ways in which the banks would adhere to the revised remuneration code, which has already caused a flurry of political debate.

The talks, which were hosted by the FSA’s banking sector leader Thomas Huertas, were the result of a consultation paper issued by the regulator in July.

Attendees included HSBC’s John Thornton; Sir Richard Broadbent from Barclays; Ruth Markland from Standard Chartered; Lloyds Banking Group’s Tony Watson; and Penny Hughes from Royal Bank of Scotland.

The FSA told City A.M. that a meeting had taken place but sought to distance itself from suggestions that it was held in secret or the result of a special summons.

“[The talks] are part of a regular engagement when we issue an open consultation,” said a spokeswoman at the regulator.

It is understood that the FSA has asked the senior banking figures to respond to the paper by 8 October.

July’s publication of the remuneration code outlined a number of suggestions banks might have to consider when it came to bankers pay, including deferred bonus payments and the proportion of bankers’ pay that should be in shares or cash.

The FSA is proposing that at least 40 per cent of a bonus must be deferred over a period of at least three years, and that 60 per cent must be deferred when the bonus surpasses £500,000.

Similarly, the FSA has said that at least 50 per cent of any variable remuneration components should be made in shares.

The news comes after FSA chairman Lord Adair Turner on Wednesday said there a need to move away from the “demonisation of overpaid traders” and that bad policies ? – not just bankers – were to blame for the financial crisis.