We don't want to sound obsessed with money - least of all with other people's money. After all, those bonus bucks were never headed toward our pocket, no matter how things eventually shake out in Washington, London, Paris or lower Manhattan.
However, for this daily feature called "The News," our menu is confined to whatever the mass media - both mainstream and not-so-mainstream - are saying about financial career issues. And this morning they're focused on the same story that dominated the headlines yesterday and the day before - efforts by public and private authorities to constrain bankers' pay, in the U.S. and elsewhere.
The Financial Times' Gillian Tett offers a different slant. All the hand-wringing about the UK's just-formalized 50 percent tax on bank bonuses misses the bigger point, Tett writes. Looking beyond the next 12 months or so, she spotlights the fundamental, structural issue of global macroeconomic imbalances - specifically, the maturing of Western capital markets and the prospect that finance jobs will finally relocate closer to ultimate end-users. "What is likely to happen in the coming decades is that financial business will move closer to where capital sits, be that Hong Kong, São Paulo or Shanghai. Now, it is unclear how fast or sweeping this shift will be, since these countries vary in their ability to build financial infrastructure. Tokyo, after all, shows that big pools of capital do not always create true global financial leaders. But western banks can smell the trend."
Santander, for instance, recently did an $8 billion initial public offering in the Brazil market - thereby obtaining capital more cheaply than it might have in London, according to Tett. And Goldman Sachs is rumored to be thinking about doing its next stock offering in China and Brazil.
The long-term problem for London as a financial center, the FT writer concludes, is that "the financial weather more generally is getting worse .... just as other pastures are getting more fruitful."
We'd add that the same could said for New York.
Bankers Will Follow the Money [FT]
Is a Bonus Tax in Our Future? [Fortune]
Bonus Bashers Shouldn't Stop at Goldman Sachs: David Reilly [Bloomberg News]
Pay Czar Poised For Next Wave Of Rulings [Reuters, via NY Times]
Investment Technology Group Restructures US Business to Address Market Conditions [Investment Technology Group]
SWIFT's Restructuring In North America Includes Layoffs [Wall Street & Technology]
Hey Smith Barney, Here's How Your Shanghai Colleagues Like To Party [ClusterStock]