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Knight: Pay row must end

ANGELA Knight, the chief executive of the British Bankers&rsquo; Association, yesterday called for an end to the public debate on remuneration and slammed a suggestion from Prime Minister Gordon Brown that pay could be capped as a percentage of profit.<br /><br />Knight told City A.M. that the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and No. 10 Downing Street should focus on promoting the regulator&rsquo;s new code on remuneration practices internationally, rather than carrying out a public debate on pay through the media.<br /><br />&ldquo;What the FSA has put forward is the most comprehensive code anywhere. We should seek international agreement on that,&rdquo; she said.<br /><br />&ldquo;We should go for it collectively, rather than a lot of public discussion between authorities that would be better sorted out privately first.&rdquo;<br /><br />Knight was speaking after Prime Minister Gordon Brown addressed bonuses in an interview, suggesting that banks should be able to &ldquo;claw back&rdquo; payouts if long-term performance did not match rewards on offer to staff.<br /><br />Brown also floated the idea that bonuses could be capped as a percentage of profit, but Knight was fiercely critical of the suggestion.<br /><br />&ldquo;If they move to a percentage solution, that&rsquo;s much too simplistic, because business models operate in different ways,&rdquo; she said.<br /><br />&ldquo;It has some of the benefits of simplicity but it has all of the flaws as well.&rdquo;<br /><br />Knight&rsquo;s comments come just a few days after FSA chairman Lord Adair Turner suggested a global levy &ndash; known as a Tobin tax &ndash; to curb what he described as a &ldquo;swollen&rdquo; financial sector.<br /><br />The Prime Minister and other world leaders will attempt to thrash out a global agreement on pay at the forthcoming G20 summit in Pittsburgh.