Financiers BonusWatch update

The battle between GOOD and EVIL continues! :)

From Poland AM this morning:

Sales bonus row at Bank Millennium spills onto Net

Bank Millennium is reportedly in dispute with some of its sales staff over bonuses, which have either been frozen, or cancelled, while some staff may even have been sacked over the issue. According to posts that can be read on internet forums, the bank removed bonuses for some sales staff in December and January, while making those affected offers they cannot refuse. “They told me to resign, or if I do not do this, they threatened [me] with a disciplinary sacking. […] I was punished for the same thing a few times,” one of the posts reads. According to an official bank statement made by spokesperson Wojciech Kaczorowski, “All bonuses for 2008 were paid or will be paid to employees who are entitled to them. Inside the bank different groups of employees receive bonuses on different dates.” According to unofficial sources, the problems are related to a recent audit of sales structures, according to which some results, mainly in terms of selling credit cards, were artificially upgraded by employees. The bank recognized these activities as unethical and, in some cases, took away bonuses, while in other cases staff were sacked. (Puls Biznesu, p. 9) M.M.

Meanwhile, in the US of A it seems that progress is being made with requests for AIG bonuses to be voluntarily returned:

The New York State attorney general, Andrew M. Cuomo, said on Monday that he had persuaded nine of the top 10 bonus recipients at the American International Group to give the money back, as the Senate retreated on plans to tax such bonuses. Mr. Cuomo said he was working his way down a list of A.I.G. employees, ranked by the size of their bonuses, and had already won commitments to pay back $50 million out of the total $165 million awarded this month. But in a reversal of the stand he took last week, he said he did not intend to release any names.

“If the person returns the money, I don’t think there’s a public interest in releasing the names,” Mr. Cuomo said in a conference call with reporters.

So $50 million was paid to nine executives, one assumes? I like the subtle threat about not naming those who return the money, the assumption being that those who do not will be named? This whole thing is likely to end up keeping a few lawyers busy I suspect.

Interestingly, the article goes on to say;

Mr. Cuomo said that he hoped eventually to recover $80 million in bonuses paid in March to A.I.G. employees in the United States. But he said an additional $85 million had gone to people outside the United States, and he did not believe his office had the legal standing to pursue them. That would appear to spare people in A.I.G.’s financial products office in London, the seat of the company’s business in credit-default swaps — the derivatives that nearly sank the company and paralyzed the global financial system last fall. “We have a very aggressive theory about our jurisdiction, but we don’t have a theory that gets us to London,” Mr. Cuomo said.

So. Looks like the AIG staff in London, those actually causing most of the trouble, will be getting away with it? Surely in such circumstances one would think the ‘special relationship’ would come into play and a call to Mr. Brown’s office would allow pressure to be applied in the UK too? Another example of the UK being soft on bankers? Does the UK have more to lose? Are the bankers threats of non-cooperation more of a worry to Brown than they are to Obama?

You know, I wonder if perhaps these bankers have got it right. Perhaps everyone who’s suffering from losing a bonus, losing a job, salary reduction, whatever should get as uppity as these finance guys. Get out there in the streets, refuse to cooperate, take a stand! Let’s see where that leaves us all.

Stay tuned for the next exciting episode of – “The battle of Bankers Bonus – how the west was lost!”.

7 thoughts on “Financiers BonusWatch update

  1. Yes, some nice ones there!

    I expect all the other companies that might be guilty of the same are more than happy to let AIG deflect attention. Hopefully only temporarily.

  2. Happy to blog that, Colin. Glad to find some words from the other side of the story. Have to say though, at first glance, I’m not sure I’ll be as sympathetic as you might think.

  3. Hello fellow(s),

    I must rhyme a little bit first! :D

    Your friend (I suppose) Michael Dembiński was today in radio talking about economy in very good program (conducted with sense of humor and light and from this reason understandable even for laics).

    He said that now is better say that you are a pedophile than a banker!!!

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