London City workers criticize pay gaps, declining ethics – St Paul’s poll

November 7, 2011

(A placard is balanced on a statue outside St Paul's Cathedral in central London November 6, 2011. REUTERS/Paul Hackett)

Most London City workers believe there is too great a gap between rich and poor in Britain and that traders, company bosses and stockbrokers are paid too much, a survey by a think-tank linked to St Paul’s cathedral said on Monday.

Released to mark the 25th anniversary of financial deregulation in Britain, the survey found most of those polled believed the so-called “Big Bang” — which created the City in its current form — had resulted in less ethical behaviour.

Publication of the report, originally due last month, was delayed as controversy engulfed the church over its handing of an “Occupy” protest encamped in front of the cathedral demanding greater wealth equality and financial reform.

“Action is a crucial goal of the protest camp ..,” said Reverend Michael Hampel, Canon Precentor of the cathedral.

“We hope that the telling findings of this report can provide a solid foundation for future engagement and highlight issues where action might be of mutual concern for all sides of the debate.”

The poll for the St Paul’s Institute carried out among 515 professionals in London’s financial sector showed 75 percent thought wealth inequality was too great and that the bonus culture should be reformed.

Large bonuses encouraged excessive risk-taking and payouts should reflect long-term success rather than short-term performance, the majority of respondents said.

Seventy-seven percent said they thought teachers were paid too little; while city bond traders, FTSE 100 chief executives, stockbrokers, lawyers and bankers were all identified as overpaid.

But respondents also praised the ethical initiatives of their own companies, and 72 percent said the financial services sector was not valued for its role in the UK economy.

Read the full story by Naomi O’Leary here.

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