Top RBS bankers quit amid furious backlash over bonuses

TWO investment banking hotshots have quit their positions at Royal Bank of Scotland just weeks before the annual bonus round, amid a furious populist backlash against potential payouts at the bailed-out bank.

Steve Ashley, the head of interest rates trading, and Chris Fleming, the head of European flow sales, resigned on Friday. Both are thought to have become disillusioned with the bad feeling towards RBS, which is 84 per cent owned by the taxpayer, as well as political pressure for the bank to reduce its bonus pool, expected to hit up to £1.4bn for 2009. The news comes as Barclays is today expected to tip the other end of the scale by handing out £4.5bn in compensation after posting a bumper £11.2bn profit haul.

After the resignations, RBS will bring its emerging markets, rates, currency and options teams under a single fixed income umbrella, run by Michael Lyublinsky and Peter Rading.