Anthony Hilton: Fixing bankers’ pay is simpler than we think

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The Independent Online

London's Guildhall was the venue on Tuesday for the conference of the International Corporate Governance Network, an umbrella organisation which allows corporate activists in one country to see what is happening in the rest of their world. If boards are going to be fired up to improve corporate performance and if executive pay is to be brought back under control, these are the people who will lead the charge.

The highlight for me came from a panel talking about bankers' pay. Governments are worried about bankers' bonuses. Voters are furious about bankers' pay. Shareholders are incensed by it. But nothing ever changes. Bankers are like trade unionists before Mrs Thatcher: they think they have a divine right to take what they want and no one has the courage to stand up to them.

But the solution is obvious. UKFI, the Treasury offshoot which holds the taxpayers' 80 per cent stake in Royal Bank of Scotland, should convene a meeting attended by the shareholders owning the other 20 per cent, by the relevant government minister and by Stephen Hester, chief executive. Then they simply tell him enough is enough.

What is so difficult about that?