The Great Debate UK

from The Great Debate:

Worry about bank capital, not bonuses

jamessaft1--James Saft is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.--

The effort to rein in banking bonuses, outrageous as they may be, is akin to banning glue sniffing because you are worried about the effects of intoxication.

There are, as the kids in the alley behind the high school can tell you, other ways of getting high.

Train your regulatory fire instead on requiring more and better bank capital and you will arguably do a great deal to control excessive compensation as well as doing much more to protect taxpayers and the economy.

Financial leaders from the Group of 20 rich nations agreed the skeletal outlines of a plan to reform banking last weekend in London. Included was the idea of claw backs on bonuses if earnings evaporate, forcing more pay to be deferred for longer, and more disclosure of top pay.