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FSA approach to banker bonuses sparks fears of two-tier pay scales

US financial groups with operations in the UK are concerned that the FSA’s tough stance on bank bonuses could lead to a two-tier system of pay where UK workers receive smaller bonuses than those doing similar jobs in the US.

Wall Street executives say that the FSA’s line on bank bonuses is tougher than that of the Federal Reserve and this could lead to unlevel remuneration between US and UK workers, according to the Financial Times.

The FSA’s new banking code asks banks to comply with specific principles by January or face action. It is more stringent than the Fed’s rules which only require US banks to demonstrate that their pay schemes do not encourage excessive risk taking.

The FSA has already forced HSBC, Barclays, Standard Chartered, Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland and 11 foreign banks to sign up to pay reforms agreed at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh last month.

These include deferring bonuses over three years and reducing the level of cash bonuses paid out for 2009.

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