January 27, 2012

Hester’s Bonus

Today’s top story (here) is the “outrage” about Stephen Hester getting a £1m bonus in RBS shares. There are 950 comments as I write this, which can be boiled down to two points of view:

  • He’s being rewarded an appropriate amount based on being the CEO of a firm with 150,000 employees
  • He should be fired / resign / be boiled in oil, for taking such a huge bung when the other 99% are suffering from austerity, and he’s working for a state owned company

It’s a challenge for everyone who works in the Capital Markets to earn any respect from the general public when most of what we do isn’t understood, and since the GFC are seen as the villains who caused the crash.  Somehow the banking industry needs to assemble and promote a new public narrative to explain how the markets underpin global commerce without which we’d see international trade slip backwards into the 50s.

I fully understand the view of someone earning an average wage, comparing the money some folks earn in the markets with that of a nurse or teacher. It’s hard to accept the rewards on offer for even junior people in banks and financial organisations.

By way of comparison here’s a list of CEO compensation from CNN, the highest of which is Gary D. Cohn President and Chief Operating Officer of Goldman Sachs at $72.5. Another perspective is Footballers (list here), the UKs David Beckham apparently made $40m in the past year, nice.

Stephen Hester’s bonus is inconsequential compared to the amounts being dished out to other people around the world, and whilst I have sympathy for the general public’s point of view – I don’t want a dunderhead running RBS and destroying it’s share price.

Vote in the poll below and let me know what you think….

[polldaddy poll=5882209]


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