City workers are overpaid – survey


Two thirds of financial sector professionals believe City traders are paid too much, according to a think-tank’s survey.

Some 66 per cent believe City traders are overpaid, a Comres survey in August found, while lawyers, stockbrokers, bankers and FTSE 100 chief executives are also considered to be paid more than they are worth. The survey of 515 City staff features in a report for the St Paul’s Institute, titled Value and Values: Perceptions of Ethics in the City Today.

Issues such as corporate social responsibility, the history of the financial services sector and salaries and bonuses were covered by the survey, which was commissioned to mark the 25th anniversary of the financial Big Bang when the London Stock Exchange was deregulated in October 1986.

When asked about what was the most important motivation for people working in financial services, two thirds of people said “salary and bonuses”, while “enjoyment of work” was far behind in second place. Three quarters, or 75 per cent, of respondents agreed there is too large a gap between rich and poor in the UK.

Just 14 per cent of people could correctly recall the London Stock Exchange’s motto – “Dictum Meum Pactum” (“My Word is My Bond”). More than half of people agreed that deregulation of financial markets causes less ethical behaviour.

The St Paul’s Institute think-tank is linked to the London cathedral of the same name. Occupy London Stock Exchange (LSX) protesters have gathered outside St Paul’s Cathedral in protest at perceived corporate greed since the middle of last month.

The report’s introduction has been written by former canon chancellor of St Paul’s Giles Fraser, who recently resigned over the cathedral’s handling of the Occupy LSX protest. Dr Fraser’s introduction said: “The fact that trading is now so heavily mediated by technology and less reliant on direct human contact may go some way to explain how a sense of moral obligation has come to feel less compelling.”

He added that “ethics is a state of solidarity with other human beings”, quoting the theologian Albert Schweitzer.

Canon precentor of St Paul’s Cathedral Rev Michael Hampel said: “Action is a crucial goal of the protest camp outside St Paul’s Cathedral. We hope that the telling findings of this report can provide a solid foundation for future engagement and highlight issues where action might be of mutual concern for all sides of the debate.”