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Banking system's woes increase British vitriol over U.S.-style pay - International Herald Tribune

LONDON: This past spring, Mervyn King, the governor of the Bank of England, gave a speech denouncing the hubris of bankers. That very same day, the British bank Barclays disclosed a £18.5 million pay reward to its president, Robert Diamond Jr., for 2007 - despite sustaining a £1.6 billion write-down that year.

King followed up his criticism of the excesses of the City of London, as the financial district is known, by choosing not to accept an increase in his salary of £290,000, or $516,000.

Diamond, by comparison, is the American-born chief of Barclay's asset management and investment banking businesses, whose outsize personality and bonuses have made him one of the most visible symbols of a Wall Street ethos that has taken root in the financial district.

Stark as the contrast might have been, it was a mere hint of the uproar, led by Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain and joined by union leaders and theologians, that has emerged here in recent days over how to best curb a perceived culture of escalating pay packages that propelled bankers to push for exorbitant risks.

by Fran on Tue Sep 30th, 2008 at 03:33:59 PM EST
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