By Chris Hughes
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.
It should come as no surprise that New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg welcomes the idea of Barclays moving its headquarters to Manhattan. It would be a prominent feather in his cap in the long-standing feud with London over who is the dominant global financial center. But U.S. regulators would be unlikely to match the mayor's warm welcome.
Alpesh Patel caused quite a stir on Britain's Radio 4 this morning. The CEO of boutique investment house Praefinium Partners argued that Bob Diamond was on "a suicide mission to bring down capitalism". No word yet from the Barclays CEO on that one.
Barclays top-two — Chief Executive John Varley and President Bob Diamond — declined their 2009 bonus for the second year in a row, although the bank is paying the 23,000 staff at its investment bank £191,000 per head on average. The bank had a record year, but said all bonuses to its Executive Committee would be deferred, as it reacts to widespread criticism on bankers’ pay.
Marcus Agius, the immensely wise chairman of Barclays, told a Spectator conference this week that his board paid "as little as we can get away with" to the hotshots under his command, but that to get the best, he had to pay the going rate.
-- Margaret Doyle is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are her own --
Abracadabra! Yet again, Barclays has pulled another rabbit out of its hat. With just days to go before the end-March deadline for the bank to apply for a government guarantee of its dodgier loans, it may again wriggle out of state control.