LONDON — The Committee of European Bank Supervisors on Friday issued tougher guidelines on compensation in the financial services industry, including that most employees will be allowed to receive only 20% of their bonus upfront in cash.
Lawyers and accountants say the rules could result in some employees paying more in tax than they receive in cash, since tax in most instances will be levied on the current value of the full payout, even though much of the cash and shares won't vest for years.
The move is also bad news for banks, which will have to find new ways to pay their staff without leaving them at a disadvantage to peers outside Europe. Investment banks operating in the region have already been raising salaries to make up for the bonus restrictions. That, in turn, has raised the fixed costs for the banks.
The EU said the rules should reduce the sort of excessive risk-taking in the banking sector seen in the lead-up to the financial crisis, a factor that is widely seen as having contributed to rampant growth in areas such as subprime mortgage lending.
The legislation was built upon remuneration principles endorsed by the Group of 20 nations last year, but only the EU has written those principles into law.