EU Banks Told to Reveal How Many Staff Make 1 Million Euros
Stock Chart for Allied Irish Banks PLC (ALBK)
Banks will be quizzed by the European Union’s top banking regulator on the number of employees who make more than 1 million euros ($1.43 million) in a review of implementation of pay and bonus rules.
The European Banking Authority will also gather aggregate data on compensation broken down by business area, the regulator said in a statement on its website today.
The move “is a further step towards greater disclosure of remuneration,” the EBA said. The London-based agency said it’s seeking “a common approach across the EU” for gathering pay data.
Regulators across the world are targeting bankers’ pay and bonuses to prevent a repeat of the excessive risk taking and focus on short-term profits that they say contributed to the global financial crisis following the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. (LEHMQ) in September 2008. They have called for payouts to be linked to success, instead of rewarding failure.
The bigger question is “what purpose disclosure of these pay figures serves and what genuine insight it will give into systemic risk in the system,” Rob McIvor, spokesman for the Association for Financial Markets in Europe, said in a telephone interview. “Our conclusion is probably very little, if any.”
The EBA’s call for banks to disclose details on pay stems from an EU law adopted in November 2010.
Salary, Bonus, Pension
The data on bankers paid more than 1 million euros should encompass the business area involved and the main elements of salary, bonus, long-term awards and pension contributions, according to the EU law. It stated the information should be published by the EU’s banking agency in “aggregate” form.
Michel Barnier, the European Union’s financial services commissioner, has said further action may be needed in the 27- nation region to prevent “unjustifiable” bonuses.
“What matters is whether people are being paid to take inappropriate risks,” McIvor said. “Certainly with all the changes seen in the banking sector since 2007, in terms of the way people are incentivized, one would expect the answer to be negative.”
“There is still sufficient reason from the current pay levels and performance of these institutions to say that there needs to be an examination of how the relationship between pay and performance can be more accurate,” said Chris Roebuck, a visiting professor at the Cass Business School in London, referring to investment banks. “The evidence would suggest that it is not.”
Lenders should disclose the main criteria used to decide on bonus awards, international regulators at the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision said earlier this month.
Banks should also reveal figures on how much they cut planned bonuses and claw back money already paid out when individual bankers or the firms perform worse than expected, the Basel group said.
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