Thursday, April 02, 2020

The Banksters Escape the Pain Again

The Bank of England ordered Britain’s biggest high street banks late on Tuesday to cancel almost £8bn of dividend payments due to be made to investors this year, and told firms to scrap cash bonuses for top staff. Although the intervention sent banking shares tumbling,  banking industry sources said the bulk of cash bonuses will have already landed in executives’ accounts, including as recently as last week at some of the biggest banks.

Insiders said bonuses are usually paid alongside bankers’ March pay cheques, including at the British firms with the biggest investment banking bonus pots – Barclays, HSBC and Standard Chartered.

Barclays had allocated £320m for its senior managers and material risk takers – staff who perform the most highly regulated jobs in finance – to be paid in cash rewards, with about half that amount deferred until next year. Sources said the bank, like others, paid bonuses in March. HSBC had set aside $300m (£242m) and Standard Chartered $147m, with both banks deferring about half of those amounts to pay to staff in future. They are also understood to have paid bonus payments in the past four weeks.

According to the Financial Times, a debate among senior management at HSBC over whether the bank should relocate its headquarters to Hong Kong has been reignited after it was forced to cancel its dividend for the first time in 74 years.

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