BBC News website readers have been sending us their comments on the City Diaries. In the most recent instalments, our diarists discuss
President Obama's new banking regulations
and address the thorny issue of
Here is a selection of your comments.
US BANKING REGULATIONS
I hope "Anthony" isn't in charge of too much cash - he clearly can't do his sums very well if he thinks that 117 billion over 50 banks and ten years is $250,000. Try $250 million. When I was at college 25 years ago, the duffers tended to go into either politics, journalism or finance. Doesn't look like much has changed.
Mike Hobson, Huddersfield
Anthony and many other contributors are very amusing to me. Most "key" people have slightly more junior colleagues keen, willing and able to take over top jobs. London does not survive on exorbitant bonuses. It has survived since the 1800s on the strength and depth of its huge pool of talent. If some want to leave, let them go to Zurich and promote a few younger, able people and make sure they don't get as greedy as those they have replaced.
John White, Melbourne, Australia
I see Switzerland is being quoted as the country with all the answers. This I may point out is incorrect. I know what is required in Switzerland as far as red tape is concerned. Most banks, hedge funds and brokerage houses have no idea what the Swiss state asks for in terms of information, taxation and supervision. In addition, work is not flexible. Time spent at the office is 45 hours and then goodbye. If a Swiss employee has to work on a Sunday they will demand and receive 200% of the normal hourly salary.
Daniel Law, Bradford/Zurich
The problem for society as a whole is that many traders are gaining huge salaries and bonuses which are completely unjustified in terms of their value to the economy or society. The actions of the leaders of banks, who didn't really understand financial economics, have destroyed excellent banking businesses which did create real value through their role in assessing risk and backing entrepreneurs. Obama's solutions have much to commend them and are close to those of Mervyn King - the most perceptive major central banker at present whose views are being studiously ignored by current policy makers.
In any market, a lot of the behaviour is always going to be set by the market leader. And so in this context, Obama's initiative is absolutely important. Hopefully it will lead to hugely increased regulation on bankers everywhere and a massive clampdown on tax-havens. So to answer Anthony's point, bankers just cannot run anywhere.
Chris I, London
When will this lot get it? To me the rewards of bankers far outweigh the role. The public is quite sick of hearing about the 'poor' bashed bankers. In a Chartered Institute of Personnel Development report about the current recession, it quotes a figure of 28% of people having to accept a reduced salary from what they were earning before so as to secure a new job or career. I do not begrudge high earners, but it is the entrepreneurs who risk all they have - their own money and assets - who are the real wealth creators.
Paul Leete, Derbyshire
I agree with Mark and Laura that it is wrong to tar all bankers with the same brush. It wasn't bonuses in general which caused the financial crisis. It was the minority who failed to assess the risks of "investing" in dodgy loans because they got caught up in the boom and thought the good times would never end.
A J Edgington, Stowmarket
Mark and Laura haven't quite figured it out yet. Denial maybe? The actions of the financial sector caused worldwide recession. Millions of people around the world have lost their livelihoods, stare poverty and despair in the face every day. I'm yet to meet a finance type who admits that their behaviour is part of the problem. Until the industry changes, until reality bites, you are guilty too I'm afraid.
I have savings because I don't trust the City folk with my entire pension pot. The idea of an endless 'boom, borrow, boom' economy doesn't really stack up with basic economic sense. With some of my savings, I bought some shares when they were low. I am risk-averse, but this frankly was not a risk. They were going to bounce back, and now they have. Where's my bonus for working this out?
There is one main reason to get a job in investment banking and that is the money. You don't join a bank to save the world, you join because you want a Ferrari and are willing to do what it takes to get one. It is not surprising therefore, that bankers don't have a social conscience about picking a huge bonus one year after an enormous bailout.