22 May 2013

EU Bonus Cap - Welfare for all is ultimate destination!

One may agree with this policy (EU casts wider net for Bank Bonuses, CNBC) or not - but there will be many side-effects, intended or not. Staff will migrate to other sectors, in particular private equity and hedge funds, also traditional long-only fund managers. If politicians then want to extend pay caps the next stop for professionals will be the general corporate sector. That would mean that eventually ALL business compensation will have to be controlled - by politicians with only the slightest democratic legitimacy (Has anyone anywhere had a chance to vote for these measures? Does anyone even know his 'representatives' in the national or European Parliaments?). All this and the question of migration to areas outside the control of Eurocracy is completely left open. We might as well hand all our salary to politicians and just receive vouchers for our daily need - Welfare for all is the destination!

7 May 2013

Commerzbank defeated in Bonus Fight

All managers involved in employee compensation will be well advised to study the implications of this protracted legal case (see here and here). When senior managers of Dresdner Bank in London tried to pacify members of staff that were unsettled by news that Commerzbank was about to make a takeover bid they did not foresee the implications of the verbal promises intended to calm the nerves of their employees. They would not have expected that two trials in the British courts would have considered their statements to be a legally binding contract that even the dramatic upheavals of the financial crisis in the later part of 2008 would not have been able to extinguish.
In a similar vein, all-too-often I find that the coordination between senior management and human resource departments leaves a lot to be desired. In addition, special deals - often verbally - are agreed with staff members that lead to further confusion and mistrust among other staff members that feel that they are discriminated against. In the case of the promises made to Dresdner Bank one could also have said (even without the benefit of hindsight!) that employment prospects during the summer/early autumn of 2008 were already less than rosy and the threatened (or feared) exodus was highly unlikely.