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02:23 PM
Phil Albinus
Phil Albinus
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Bonus Round: A 90 Percent Tax?!

If any US bankers are still licking their wounds from the insults they received since the Crash of 2008, perhaps they should shed a tear for their brothers and sisters in Ireland.

Today, the Irish Finance Minister proposed a plan to tax bank bonuses by a whopping 90 percent.

Of course, this move could have been predicted after the same proposals were made in the UK and in France in the days after the crash. The once-robust Irish economy was on the brink of collapse in recent weeks and the country's officials are reeling from the political fallout of accepting a bailout from the European Union. To add insult to injury, Allied Irish Bank planned to pay an estimated $52.8 million in bonuses did not sit well with pundits and the public.

Not the best timing, folks.

We're approaching bonus season here in the US, which is usually in February and March. Earlier this week, Morgan Stanley announced that it was curtailing pay to avoid slashing payrolls. This is an interesting development because the banks once defended paying their employees so much to keep them from jumping ship to either a competitor or starting their own hedge fund.

(Just a thought: Is the forthcoming hedge fund oversight dampening enthusiasm for traders to open their own shops? Hmmm, Advanced Trading should look into this.)

In other lavish perks news, the holiday parties seem to be dialed back but are slowly making their way back. New York Magazine reported that Goldman Sachs had a small party that would have been embarrassingly modest just three years ago: it reportedly only had of 100 guests. (Was it BYOB? - Ed.)

One can almost hear the orders from the top: It's been a good year, you did great -- just don't celebrate too publicly.

Phil Albinus is the former editor-in-chief of Advanced Trading. He has nearly two decades of journalism experience and has been covering financial technology and regulation for nine years. Before joining Advanced Trading, he served as editor of Waters, a monthly trade journal ... View Full Bio
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