Monday 20 January 2020

The Punt: Wall Street bankers getting rewards to stay

Anders Borg
Anders Borg

All must be rosy once again. Bankers are now getting pay hikes. Or at least the boys on Wall Street are.

Firms are beginning to open their wallets to head off defections to investment funds and Silicon Valley.

Bank of America plans to boost salaries by at least 20pc next year for junior staff in trading and investment banking globally, while Goldman Sachs is increasing salaries for junior US workers by about that much. JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup are considering similar plans.

Morgan Stanley also decided this year to raise salaries for some mid-level bankers. The financial crisis weakened banks' footing. After 2008, firms slowed hiring while overhauling pay packages for top earners. That appears to be changing.

As the recovery begins to take hold here, it is likely to be only a matter of time before similar arguments are made. Indeed, it's already happened on at least one front.

In May, Nama chairman Frank Daly told an Oireachtas committee that the agency needs to look at introducing performance bonuses to help retain and attract top talent.

He told TDs that there needed to be some sort of retention plan to encourage staff to stay.

It's Borg 

The dynamic at meetings of Europe's finance ministers is set to change dramatically as the electoral calendar takes its inevitable toll.

Sweden's Anders Borg emerged as a significant force during the crisis - an early advocate of the need to move fast and hard to strengthen the banking sector to prevent the crisis worsening.

It helped that the Swedish centre right politicians was instantly recognisable - for much of the crisis he sported a fairly incongruous ponytail.

More importantly he had the lessons of Sweden's own banking crisis to fall back on. One lessons that was no doubt heartening to Michael Noonan and other Irish negotiators was that money can, eventually, be wrung back out of rescued lenders. In Sweden's case, a process that took two decades.

Borg's influence at Ecofin was helped by the relative success of his home economy over the past eight years, though outperforming the euro area is hardly the stuff of economic miracles.

And it isn't enough to save Borg's boss, prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt. He looks set to be ousted by the left next month - who promise to hike taxes for the rich and to limit the influence of the private equity industry in Sweden.

Get your cape, here's Ryanair

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary was waxing lyrical yesterday in Dublin's Westbury Hotel as he and chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs unveiled details of the airline's new service to Brussel's main Zavantem airport.

There were a couple of notable things about the event. One is the location. In Dublin, Ryanair has traditionally plumped for either the Davenport Hotel or the neighbouring Alexander when holding press conferences. Both are part of the O'Callaghan Hotel group, whose owner is Noel O'Callaghan. He's also Michael O'Leary's uncle. The five-star Westbury is part of the Doyle group of hotels. It may only be a short hop from either the Davenport or Alexander, but a world away in the hotel food chain.

The Punt also asked Mr O'Leary why, if Ryanair's near 30pc stake in Aer Lingus is now so unimportant to it, it continues to pour money into legal fees in an effort fight competition tsars in London and Brussels?

"We have a life-long quest for truth, justice, freedom and to defeat the hand of political interference wherever we come across it."

Marvel comic stuff, surely.

Irish Independent

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