The Great Debate UK

Regulatory gaps let banks off the bonus hook

– The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

By Peter Thal Larsen

Investment banks have reined in their worst pay excesses. But inconsistent enforcement of bonus rules in the United States and Europe means some are still getting away with bad behaviour. If banks and regulators can’t agree common standards, they risk another political backlash.

It’s almost 18 months since the world’s regulators agreed a common set of principles for bank pay. But the interpretation of those standards has been far from consistent. While the U.S. Federal Reserve has issued the institutions it regulates with broad guidelines, the European Union has passed a detailed directive, including a requirement that a proportion of any bonus should be paid in the form of contingent capital. Add in one-off levies like the UK bank payroll tax, and it’s not hard to see why banks are struggling for a common approach.

Investment banks have cleaned up their act to some extent. Most bonuses now include some deferred payment, often in the form of stock. This aligns bankers’ incentives with those of shareholders, and discourages them from taking short-term risks that may blow up in a year or two. Multi-year guaranteed bonuses have almost entirely disappeared.

Osborne’s budget alleviates worries over pensions tax relief

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-Joanne Segars is chief executive at the National Association of Pension Funds. The opinions expressed are her own.-

Osborne delivered a tough and important budget, but one issue he didn’t really square up to was the UK’s woeful record on saving for retirement.

UK economy’s make-or-break budget

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- Mark Bolsom is the Head of the UK Trading desk at Travelex Global Business Payments. The opinions expressed are his own-

Later today, Chancellor George Osborne will unveil his first budget, where he is widely expected to take a tough stance. To the financial markets, this emergency budget is the agenda-setting piece of this parliament. Markets, media, consumers and businesses alike have all braced themselves for what has been billed as the sharpest fiscal tightening since the end of the Second World War.

Taxes and the emergency budget

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-Julia Whittle is head of International at Punter Southall Financial Management. The opinions expressed are her own. Join Reuters for a live discussion with guests as UK Chancellor George Osborne makes  an emergency budget statement at 12:30 p.m. British time on Tuesday, June 22, 2010.-

It is highly unlikely previous Capital Gains Tax proposals will be reversed in Chancellor George Osborne’s first budget.

Osborne to show no sympathy for middle or high earners

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-Nick Earl is partner at chartered financial planners Wardour Partners LLP. The opinions expressed are his own. Join Reuters for a live discussion with guests as UK Chancellor George Osborne makes  an emergency budget statement at 12:30 p.m. British time on Tuesday, June 22, 2010.-

On Tuesday we will hear the first budget from new Chancellor George Osborne.

From the snippets of information we have heard from the Lib-Con coalition camp, I do not anticipate this budget will show much sympathy for middle or high earners.

Key tests for the emergency budget

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-Thomas Story is tax director at BDO LLP. The opinions expressed are his own.  Join Reuters for a live discussion with guests as UK Chancellor George Osborne makes  an emergency budget statement at 12:30 p.m. British time on Tuesday, June 22, 2010.-

Ten key tests by which Chancellor George Osborne will be judged when he delivers the emergency budget on Tuesday:

A budget of woes? Where has our imagination gone?

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-Ruth Porter is communications manager at the Institute of Economic Affairs. The opinions expressed are her own. Join Reuters for a live discussion with guests as Chancellor George Osborne makes  an emergency budget statement at 12:30 p.m. British time on Tuesday, June 22, 2010.-

George Osborne has the chance to do something really radical on Tuesday in his budget statement.

Nothing is certain but death and taxes

-Rachel Mason is public relations manager at Fair Investment Company. The opinions expressed are her own.-

If there is one thing in this life you can be sure about it is that you are going to be taxed a lot. You can’t escape it.
You are taxed on your income, then you are taxed on the money from your income that you have already been taxed on when it becomes savings, then you are taxed on your pension, which is made up of cash that you have already been taxed on, and then there’s road tax, car tax, council tax, VAT, stamp duty….the list goes on.

Why not scrap the Child Trust Fund?

-Rachel Mason is public relations manager at Fair Investment. The opinions expressed are her own.-

The Child Trust Fund is set to become one of the victims of the new UK Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition’s emergency budget.

New UK coalition deserves 7 out of 10

– Hugo Dixon is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own –

The new UK coalition deserves 7 out of 10. The pact between the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties, led by David Cameron as the new prime minister, seems determined to address the country’s most important problem — the deficit. This is vital given that the euro zone debt crisis could still prove contagious. It should also be positive for sterling.

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