The News: More Tinder on the Bonus Woodpile
Politicians are further ratcheting up the pressure on financial institutions to clamp down on your paycheck, as both the yearly bonus payout ritual and the release of fourth-quarter earnings draw nigh.
A U.S. federal tax on bankers' bonuses is reportedly among the budget steps White House officials are considering. "Such proposals have stoked ire among many bankers who feel as if they're being penalized even though many firms that received federal bailout cash have since paid it back," the New York Post reports. "In addition, execs at the likes of JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs are further miffed because they feel they have done a lot already to quell public outrage over outsize bonuses."
New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo jumped into the fray Monday by formally asking the eight biggest U.S. financial institutions that received bailout aid to give him details of their bonus pools - including how they're to be divvied up among employees and how much will be paid in stock versus cash. Cuomo demanded and received similar information last year, and used the threat of publishing bonus recipients' names to coerce AIG employees into agreeing to return some $50 million in retention pay they had received under provisions of their employment contracts. He's asking the banks to provide the data by Feb. 8 and didn't say what he'll do if they refuse.
Across the Atlantic, the Financial Times reports that France's planned windfall tax on bonuses is slated to raise 360 million euros for the government, according to Finance Minister Christine Lagarde. That's based on predictions by French banks that they, like banks in London faced with a parallel UK bonus tax, will pay out bonuses in full and absorb the full cost.
Bankers Sweat It Out [NY Post]
Pay-Outs At Rescued Banks Face Fresh Scrutiny [FT]
Paris To Raise More In Bonus Tax Than Expected [FT]
Obama Plans to Raise $120 Billion From Banking Fees [Bloomberg News]
Good Charlotte [BreakingViews, via NY Times]
Goldman Sachs Still Shines for MBAs Who Ignore 'Hype' [Bloomberg News]
State Coalition to Bank CEOs: Tithe Your Bonuses to Jobs Recovery [California Reinvestment Coalition, via PRN]