SHADOW chancellor George Osborne has told the Financial Services Authority (FSA) to end the era of the “mega bonus” even for banks such as Barclays that were not bailed out.<br /><br />He said all banks are regulated entities potentially underpinned by the taxpayer so they should all face bonus curbs. He stopped short of calling for a cap on individual banker pay, saying the FSA (and eventually the Bank of England) should be tasked with vetoing firms’ overall pay level proposals. <br /><br />His remarks came a day after the G20 meeting of finance ministers pledged to regulate banker pay – but rejected a proposal from French and German leaders to bring in individual caps on bonuses. “The government and the regulator have a huge amount of leverage; first of all we own half the banks, second of all we are guaranteeing activities at the other half of the banks,” Osborne told the BBC yesterday. <br /><br />“The regulator should be very, very clear that they will not sign off on pay packages and bonus packages that put money into bankers’ pay instead of money into the bank balance sheets so that they can lend normally and support the economy.”<br /><br />But Tim Linacre, chief executive officer of stockbroker Panmure Gordon, accused politicians like Osborne of “dealing with things they don’t really understand”.<br /><br />“The more they look at this, the harder it is to come up with anything that makes any sense at all,” he said. <br /><br />“When politicians try and second-guess the market and come up with detailed rules, it becomes a mess.” <br /><br />The British Bankers’ Association (BBA) said the banks are already “well ahead” in their dealings with the FSA to bring in a range of measures ensuring pay packages meet government approval. “If you look into it, there aren’t actually that many people in banking who get these large bonuses anyway,” a spokeswoman said. <br /><br />But she added the organisation is awaiting more detail on measures the G20 proposed, such as bringing in legal means to claw back bonuses from staff if their actions lead to losses for a bank.