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After a financial crisis that many blame on the highly paid high-flyers of the banking world, politicians are responding to public anger by cracking down on the millions in bonuses paid out to champion speculators.
Many believe it is high time that banks that were deemed too big to fail and bailed out by taxpayers put their traders on a shorter leash. They have demanded limits on the bonuses that fed the financial market frenzy to the point of near collapse. Even bank shareholders are starting to demand limits.
Swiss voters recently approved a referendum limiting bonuses. The vote was seen as a backlash against the excesses that triggered the crisis and cost many their jobs.
Reaction across Europe is also fuelling demands for a financial transaction tax to help pay for any future bailouts.
But can Europe impose those measures without losing business to competitors, who refuse to sign up? How many of those highly talented bankers could pack up and move to Singapore?
Wired into this edition of The Network are Karel Lannoo, CEO of the Centre for European Policy Studies, Othmar Karas, European Parliament Vice-President who was in charge of drafting the legislation on bankers’ bonuses, and Guido Ravoet, Chief Executive of the European Banking Federation.