Monday

21st Aug 2017

EU rules clamp down on bank 'risk takers'

  • The fall of Lehman bank in 2008 marked the start of years of woe for the EU economy (Photo: sachab)

The European Commission has published rules aimed at making it easier to identify financiers involved in their bank's riskiest trading activities, as part of reforms aimed at capping bank bonuses.

Drafted by the European Banking Authority, the bloc's regulator, and adopted by the EU executive on Tuesday (4 March), the Regulatory Technical Standards, set out 15 criteria to define “material risk takers” in a bank. These cover all senior management staff and those with the power to authorise deals with high credit risk exposure.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The new rules will also hit executives who earn at least €500,000, or who are in the highest 0.3 percent pay bracket in their firm.

The rules are an attempt to close a loophole which has seen a number of banks award “fixed pay allowances” to their top staff in a bid to dodge an earlier EU bonus cap.

Last month a report by German bank watchdog Bafin found that only four out of 15 banks surveyed had in fact applied the cap.

"Some banks are doing their utmost to circumvent remuneration rules," said financial services commissioner Michel Barnier in a statement on Tuesday.

"These standards will provide clarity on who new EU rules on bonuses actually apply to, which is key to preventing circumvention."

However, millionaire bankers could continue to be exemp from the cap, provided regulators agree they are not involved in any of bank's riskier functions.

"The burden of proof will rest squarely on the institutions to demonstrate that, despite the very high remuneration, the staff member in question does not in fact have any material impact on the institution's risk profile," the new rules say.

EU lawmakers backed the bonus cap reform, which formed part of new rules increasing the amount of capital which banks must hold on their balance sheets, in April 2013. As a rule, bonus payments would be capped at 100 percent of salary, with payments up to 200 percent of salary allowed on the basis of a vote by shareholders.

Legislators argue that a rampant bonus culture encouraged risky trading which resulted in the 2008-9 financial crisis.

But big banks claim the bonus cap risks driving top financiers out of the EU to the US or the Far East. Meanwhile, the UK issued a legal challenge against the legislation last September, claiming it was in breach of the EU treaties and would put European banks at a competitive disadvantage.

The UK is home to more than 75 percent of the 3,500 EU bankers who were paid more than €1 million in 2013.

MEPs and ministers now have up to three months to comment on the rules before they enter into force.

MEPs confirm bank bonus cap

Bank bonuses in the EU will be capped from 2015, as part of banking sector reforms backed by MEPs on Tuesday.

Brexit realities dawn in UK

Just over a year after a small majority voted for Britain to leave the EU, new realities are dawning on both the in and the out camps.

News in Brief

  1. Macedonia sacks top prosecutor over wiretap scandal
  2. ECB concerned stronger euro could derail economic recovery
  3. Mixed Irish reactions to post-Brexit border proposal
  4. European Union returns to 2 percent growth
  5. Russian power most feared in Europe
  6. Ireland continues to refuse €13 billion in back taxes from Apple
  7. UK unemployment lowest since 1975
  8. Europe facing 'explosive cocktail' in its backyard, report warns

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Jewish CongressEuropean Governments Must Take Stronger Action Against Terrorism
  2. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceDoes Genetics Explain Why So Few of Us Have an Ideal Cardiovascular Health?
  3. EU2017EEFuture-Themed Digital Painting Competition Welcomes Artists - Deadline 31 Aug
  4. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  5. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  6. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  7. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  8. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  9. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  10. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  11. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  12. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference