NEWS that bankers have taken [pounds sterling]13 billion in bonuses so far this yearwill prompt the usual flurry of toothless complaintsunions can "demand" an inquiry and the rest of us can seethe.
It's only a few weeks since Bank of England Governor Mervyn King conceded thatbanks are run in the interests of bankers and not investors when he said:"Banks have designed compensation packages which provide incentives that arenot, in the long run, in the interests of the banks themselves." Angela Knightof the British Bankers Association told him to mind his own business, but ifreckless pay that endangers the financial security of the public isn't Mervyn'sbusiness, then what is? Bankers get paid for closing dealsfor volume. The quality of the deals, the profits made, are barely relevant.
What's to be done? Anti-regulation fanatics like to argue that while thecurrent system is broken, government interference can only make it worse.
Complaining about the status quo but insisting there's no point changing itseems lameas if the speaker's main interest was in getting his own piece of the action.
It would be preferable if new laws weren't needed to sort this mess out, butthe banks have had years to put their houses in order and clearly won't unlessthey are made to. …