James Moore: The Prof has learnt little about bonuses at banks

Outlook "Deeply disturbing," was how the Cass Business School described a letter sent by the Financial Services Authority to the chief executives of various banks as we approach bonus season.

Professor Chris Roebuck fulminated against what he said was a "sting in the tail" of the regulator's demands.

Said the Prof: "The idea that all bonuses should be reduced is a new departure for the FSA, and indeed any regulator. Are we really saying that if you did a perfectly legal and professional job all year, and made money for your organisation, that your pay should be slashed because someone else did something wrong?"

Well, Mr Roebuck, banks are organisations, and organisations are made up of collections of individuals. The Libor and payment protection insurance scandals had their genesis in a debased culture that lots of those individuals bought into and, indeed, contributed to.

As a result those banks have lost a lot of money. The bonus pools that are now being considered ought to reflect that. The FSA is therefore quite right to argue that this year's bonus season shouldn't be very festive.

Cass is a highly ranked, respected and influential institution when it comes to business. If this is an example of its thinking it shows how little has been learnt since the financial crisis.

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