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European Regulator Bans Bonuses In Fixed Income Clothes, Asks Banks If It Looks Stupid

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Nice try attempting to pay employees bonuses while calling them "role-based allowances," "role-based payments," "a little something extra for your trouble," etc, but the European Banking Authority is on to you.

Europe’s top banking regulator moved to close a loophole that allows banks to sidestep limits on bonuses by awarding staff payments under different names. The European Banking Authority said 39 banks in the European Union are paying staff discretionary role-based payments, they classify as fixed pay, in addition to their salaries. These awards break EU bonus rules because they were found neither fixed nor permament in “most cases,” the London-based regulator said in a report today. EU lawmakers last year adopted the world’s toughest bonus rules in a bid to tackle what they called a gambling culture blamed for triggering the 2008 financial crisis. Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA) have been among European banks responding by giving employees cash allowances depending on seniority, known as role-based pay, to evade the restriction on bonuses of more than twice fixed pay.

Bank Bonuses That Aren’t Called Bonuses Banned in Europe [Bloomberg]