Breakingviews

Swiss say-on-pay bodes ill for rainmaker wallets

April 2, 2015

UBS and Credit Suisse face binding shareholder votes on executive compensation for the first time. These will judge aggregate, not individual awards. But Swiss banks must also disclose their top-paid executive. That makes it harder for dealmakers to out-earn their CEOs.

UK jail-a-banker rules will hike board pay

February 25, 2015

That’s the likely upshot of Britain’s new regime to hold financiers accountable for wrongdoing. Regulators have stopped short of applying the rules to all non-executives, but half of most boards still risk incarceration. As a result, they will probably demand more money.

Rob Cox: Davos badly needs a Henry Ford moment

January 21, 2015

The widening gap between the Capital Class and the rest threatens global prosperity. Ford was a pioneer at voluntarily paying employees more, as U.S. insurer Aetna did last week. The great American auto entrepreneur would also have applauded Obama’s plan to tax workers less.

Banks risk provoking EU with bonus get-arounds

September 2, 2014

Firms are paying top staff extra “allowances” in response to European bonus caps. That avoids raising base salaries and keeps costs flexible. The risk is that successful avoidance of the rules will prompt policymakers to shift the attack to pay quantum rather than pay structure.

Swiss may show the way on pay

March 4, 2013

Voters in Switzerland have given huge support to curbs on remuneration. State meddling in pay may be clumsy, but private excess is a policy problem when governments have to justify spending cuts. Boards were asking for it. And the legislation rightly shifts power to shareholders.

UK exec pay reforms set sound standards

June 21, 2012

Companies will have to put a single number on CEO pay, and shareholders will have the last say on remuneration policy. This isn’t government meddling, it is empowering owners to hold managers to account. Good bosses should welcome the changes, which could legitimise their awards.

Counterpoint: Donating a bonus doesn’t reduce it

January 24, 2012

Breakingviews columnist George Hay suggests RBS chief Stephen Hester should take a payout but give it to charity so as to neuter the toxic politics of receiving it. That’s humbug. Philanthropy is praiseworthy and to be encouraged, but it’s not a valid defense for a bonus.

Bonus for RBS boss hangs on two provisos

January 24, 2012

Stephen Hester should get his annual bonus – but only if Royal Bank of Scotland can clearly justify the award. The state-controlled lender, and its chief executive, also need to show they understand the toxic political dimensions: and give any proceeds away to charity.

Bank CEO pay suggests Wall Street may be waking up

January 23, 2012

The latest stock awards to Jamie Dimon, James Gorman and Vikram Pandit can’t be called austere but also don’t ignore the post-crisis contempt over excessive bonuses. So far, there’s nothing that should outrage investors or employees. But there are also still cash payouts to come.

Apple ties Cook into Jobs’ boots – at a price

January 10, 2012

The maker of functional but expensive gadgets now has a $376 mln CEO retention plan to match. Tim Cook will get that if he’s around for a decade. He deserves much after standing in for Steve Jobs, and Apple needs continuity. But in future the board can pay Cook more like Jobs.