Bankers should be paid less, says Barclays chairman

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The Independent Online

The new chairman of Barclays has admitted that its bankers are paid too much and that massive bonuses have undermined the bank's ethical culture.

Sir David Walker told The Sunday Times: "There's no doubt about it. My instinct is that they are paid too much."

Sir David added that the way bankers' pay was structured, with large bonuses paid for short-term trading gains, was "undermining culture" at Barclays.

"Some elements of remuneration are undermining culture in the sense that they support inappropriate behaviour. We need to look at this and we need to get on with it," he said.

But Sir David, who headed a review of bankers' pay for the previous Labour government, also warned that excessive remuneration was a problem that went far beyond Barclays, and that it would be difficult for the bank to tackle it unilaterally. He said: "[Wall] Street is paid too much. I don't think we can get far out of line with the street."

Sir David also told The Sunday Telegraph that he is in favour "in principle" of imposing charges on ordinary consumer bank accounts. He said that if banks had been allowed to charge they would have had less incentive to boost their profits by mis-selling credit products to customers over the past decade.