Tuesday, February 19 16:42:16
European Union lawmakers and member states are close to agreeing the world's toughest curbs on bank bonuses on Tuesday, in the face of warnings from bankers that the crackdown would backfire and land them bigger basic pay packets.
Representatives from European Union states and the European Parliament are set to push ahead with their plans to cap bankers' bonuses at no more than their annual salary after Britain, home to the region's biggest financial hub, failed to block the proposal after months of wrangling.
The lawmakers, supported by Germany and France, argue that imposing caps on bankers' bonuses will prevent the sort of excessive risk-taking that contributed to the financial crisis.
It will also play well with austerity-weary voters, who take a dim view of senior bankers' continuing to take lottery-sized bonuses from an industry still propped up by trillions of euros of taxpayers' money.
"This is a question of justice," said Sven Giegold, a German lawmaker in the European Parliament.
"If you are a good football player, then you get a lot of money because you play good football. But in finance, you get a high income whether your performance is average or worse."
The banking industry has pushed for months to influence the rules, flooding lawmakers with suggested amendments. Regulations such as that on pay and capital has fuelled a dramatic mushrooming of financial lobbyists in Brussels, some of whom can themselves earn more than 400,000 euros a year. (C ) Reuters