City traders paid too much, says report


Two-thirds of people working in the City cannot say when the last two recessions took place according to a report from a think-tank linked to St Paul’s cathedral that was temporarily shelved following the furore over the Occupy London Stock Exchange protests.

St Paul’s Institute, a church group that seeks to engage the banks with moral questions, published its highly damning critique of the financial industry today after initially deciding to put it on hold following the arrival of a protest camp on the steps of the cathedral.

The report, based on a confidential poll with 515 City workers, paints a damning portrait of the Square Mile with a majority of employees admitting that they are over paid, that a vast gap exists between rich and poor and that bonuses should be awarded on the basis of long term stability, not short-term windfalls.

In an indication that memories fade fast within the banking sector, less than a third of employees were able to pin point 1980 and 1991/92 as the last two dates major recessions took place in the UK. In contrast, more than three-quarters of respondents correctly answered that the post-credit crunch recession began in 2008.

Equally, almost seven in 10 people had no idea that this year is the 25th anniversary of the “Big Bang”, the major deregulation of Britain’s banking industry that allowed London to become the financial capital of the world – and an inevitable epicentre of the ongoing economic turmoil.

The results will lead to concerns that a lack of historical awareness permeates a financial sector that rarely looks beyond the short-term acquisition of more capital at the expense of long term stability.

The report also revealed that 66 percent of respondents believed City traders are paid too much. FTSE 100 chief executives, stockbrokers, lawyers and bankers were also considered overpaid, whilst teachers and nurses were thought to be underpaid. Just over half of respondents (51 per cent) said deregulation leads to less ethical behaviour.

In a forward to the report, Canon Giles Fraser, who stepped down in protest over the hard line St Paul’s initially took towards anti-greed protestors, described how he had been hired by the cathedral to reach out to the City.

“It soon became clear that many in the financial services industry could not see the advantage of public debate on questions of ethics,” he wrote. “They had been widely painted as villains, and public debate on questions of ethics would simply provide the media with further material for banker bashing.”

But he also criticised his own church for failing to tackle the moral issues surrounding wealth acquisition at the expense of other topics that he said had dominated Anglican debate.

“Despite the fact that, if you count up all the references, the right use of money is the number one moral issue in the Bible, the church has preferred to spend its time arguing endlessly about sex,” he wrote.

St Paul’s has been at the epicentre of a row over the Church of England’s approach towards growing anger over whether the financial industry is to blame for the current economic difficulties the country faces.

Protestors who pitched their tents on the steps of the cathedral when they were moved on from the London Stock Exchange accused St Paul’s of siding with the banks when it announced it would use the courts to evict them. After widespread condemnation from within the Church, St Paul’s backed off but not before three clergymen had resigned over the furore.

Whether the St Paul’s institute report will be listened to within the City remains a moot point. According to those polled only 41% of financial workers said they believed in a God compared to a figure of roughly two thirds for the national average. Meanwhile 76% of respondents said they need not listen to the Church for moral guidance on how they conduct their work.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Author / Multimedia Writer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...

Recruitment Genius: Clinical Lead / RGN

£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: IT Sales Consultant

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...

Recruitment Genius: Works Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent