The way Mark Rodrigues sees it, a trained ape could probably make money working the trading desk at a prestigious bank.

Mr. Rodrigues, a vice president of AMS Management Systems, London, is one of a growing number of compensation experts beginning to question the rich pay packages being lavished on traders. They see traders as mercenaries cashing in on a bidding war for their services between commercial banks and investment banks-which have yet to develop reliable ways of measuring the traders' performance.

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