[Re: It makes no sense to criminalise genuine mistakes by bosses, yesterday]
The author makes an excellent point about the folly of extreme bonus deferral. Let us not forget that, in 2007, the bank with the longest bonus deferral (five years, with no “waterfall” vesting), and probably the highest stock compenent was Lehman Brothers. The Commission had the impossible task of reconciling the fact that politicians want our banks to be both incredibly risk averse and willing to lend. They want balance sheets expanded and shrunk. Little wonder, perhaps, that Stephen Hester fancied a change.
Quite right for the editor to point out the absurdity of proposals to jail “reckless bankers”. If the aim is to put an end to systemically risky behaviour, regulators should do more to make sure banks know they will not be bailed out. Criminal charges seems to be more a matter of grabbing headlines than actual sensible policy to me.
It is also worth considering how this would work in practice. Consider how many employees might be complicit in egregious “recklessness” and how that could ever be proven “beyond reasonable doubt”?
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Banking Standards committee must recognise banking is global. Deferring bonuses for 10 years is unrealistic.
Banks do still need reform. It is not yet time to put the past behind us.
Until we see custodial sentences given to bankers for egregious wrongdoing, we won’t see cultural change.
Cyprus needs to leave the euro to have any chance of an economic recovery.