25 February 2010

You couldn't make it up

A nationalised bank (RBS) makes a loss of about £3,600,000,000. Nevertheless, it proposes to pay 22,000 of its staff bonuses totalling £1,300,000,000, an average of about £60,000 per individual.

UKFI, the body established by the government to supervise the banks, is able to veto any bonuses payable by RBS. On this occasion, presumably with the agreement of HM Treasury, it chooses not to do so.

Why? Apparently, some of the investment bankers might seek their fortunes elsewhere. Are these masters of the universe, the guys who contributed so mightily to RBS' troubles, so good that the prospect of losing them (and where would they go anyway?) has the effect of forcing the bank to pay out £1.3 billion?

Pass the sick bag, Alice.

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