Thursday, 25 November 2010

Walker Review u-turn

As we all know, the ConDems appear to have gone a bit limp when it comes to remuneration disclosure at the banks. The argument is that the UK can't go it alone although, as I've blogged previously, Sir David Walker didn't seem to think this was necessary. That is not until the government changed and he might need to earn some corn in the ..err... banking industry.

Never mind, our investment industry will surely push the banks to disclose the data anyway. After all, if you go back and look at what institutional investors and their representative bodies said in response to the Walker Review, most of them supported disclosure of 'high end' below-board remuneration at the banks, and they did so without qualification. No mention of the need for international agreement.

In particular presumably we can expect the ABI to lead the charge since they said that the relevant Walker recommendation was already in line with their own guidelines, and they even suggested more info would be required. Here's what they said:
We support disclosure of high earning groups within bands. This is consistent with our existing remuneration guidelines. We do not believe it is necessary for individuals who are not main board directors to be named. The breakdown should include a category comprising other benefits in case there are large benefits in kind or innovative methods are used. It should also cover those who are classified as consultants but whose main individual income derives from work undertaken for the business. Banded reporting, however, should be accompanied some descriptive analysis enabling shareholders to understand the underlying policy and approach, including where appropriate by business segment. In particular, this analysis should include confirmation from the board that remuneration took account of risk and was aligned with the business model.
Individual ABI members also backed the relevant recommendations without qualification, so surely we can assume that they will be pushing for proper disclosure...

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