Fri, 21 Dec 2012
All in this Together

Hector Sants was the boss of the UK financial regulator between 2007 and 2012, the FSA. He was not a particularly distinguished CEO of this organisation, nor covered in much glory dealing with all the issues and questions over financial industry governance after the massive crunch we've had. Plus the numerous scandals uncovered over the past few years (and very recently). Criminal. Squalid. Sordid. Well, so much for regulation ...

To me then, it was a fairly depressing report to see he was joining Barclays Bank as "head of compliance and government and regulatory relations".

He will be paid a £700,000 salary, a bonus of as much as £1m, and a £1.5m long–term incentive plan over three years, the Financial Times said.

The phrase regulatory capture is one that comes to mind. It does so more frequently than it used to.

Mark Carney, the head of the Canadian Central Bank, was recently chosen to succeed Mervyn King as head of the Bank of England, to much general acclaim. It was recently reported that he :

will pocket an annual £250,000 housing allowance, taking his total pay package close to £1m

So, almost half a million pounds as a salary, as well as a quarter million on top of this for housing (plus pension on top of all this). A question I had was why a salary can't be expected to pay for housing? Mine has to.

I'm not a socialist, let alone a leveller (although if you understand their "platform" you'd agree with much of it today) but are we "all in this together" as Mr Osborne tells us?

I should stress that I do believe in people being paid a "market" rate, in so far as that rate is whatever some other party thinks is a fair number for the services rendered or profits generated. This is one component of a free society we all believe in. I don't think the "market" always works as fairly or cleanly as it is supposed to however. It is far from the free market beloved of the economist. Surely a meritocracy is undermined (or stillborn) if we have too many extremes of wealth? These extremes have been growing alarmingly for quite a while now and I think it is unhealthy for our democracy.