We will soon be entering bankers bonus territory and newspapers will already be preparing the headlines castigating the greed of the bankers. They are of course right to do so but the banker bonus culture is just part of the excessive pay scandal not just in the City, or in Industry at Board level, but in football as well. The difference in football is that the fans, who through excessive seat prices actually pay the wages, get to boo and insult any non performing player, and do so with vim and vigour.
Not so the long suffering shareholders of the banks ( that's us in the form of the taxpayer in the case of RBS) who are unlikely to receive any dividend payments for many years while the miscreants who largely caused the grief go on awarding themselves fat pay packets and fatter bonuses. We are told that they need to be paid so generously because without their special skills the banks would be in even great poo than they are now. Well I wonder about that. I have met quite a number of these bankers over the years and, with the odd rare exception, have been singularly unimpressed by either their intelligence or their ability. Years ago I found myself, for lack of any other candidate who was prepared to take the risk, running a beaten up Lloyd's reinsurance broker. I very soon worked out that what, on the surface seemed to be extremely complex was, actually, extremely simple and once one had formulated a plan and got some good people in to do the work there was very little for me, as Chief Executive, to do except to go out and have a good lunch. I mentioned to someone that I felt a bit guilty about this and they told me not to be so stupid as the role of a Chief Executive was to do himself out a job by ensuring he had good people working for him. After that there was nothing to do but act as the Chief Salesman for the company and make a few decisions and if that meant having lots of good liquid lunches so be it. He was right of course, which means those Chief Executives who are paying themselves millions are ripping the arse out of the system as- if they really are working so hard - they have obviously failed in their primary task of ensuring that they have good people to do all the work - while if they do have good people to do all the work - getting paid millions for just having a lot of good lunches does seem exceedingly greedy.