Ok, Jérôme himself may not actually pay for anyone’s sojourn in the sun, but his losses will oblige more traders to take to the beach.
Ever since it became apparent that Kerviel, the bête noire and grand nemesis of the French banking sector, had only taken four days’ holiday in the eight months before his unauthorised trades were discovered, a re-examination of the rules regarding traders’ holidays has had an air of inevitability.
Yesterday, the FSA grasped the nettle and said traders should take two weeks of continuous holiday a year, which is good news – except that being the FSA, it stopped short of making two-week breaks obligatory, but posited them instead as recommendations.
The FSA may however be slightly behind the times. Although Kerviel was supernaturally glued to his seat, most City traders are already forced to take 10 days off – particularly at US banks.
“This is absolutely nothing new – it’s been standard practice for ages,” says the head of credit trading at one firm.
“We have a two-week holiday rule here and every bank I’ve worked for has something similar,” confirms Gareth Hughes, head of HR at Royal Bank of Canada in London. “But it’s also a question of how well it’s enforced.”
If nothing else, enforcement this year may become a little more stringent, following the FSA’s recommendations.
And if two weeks’ absence from the office while markets go haywire is too much, the Telegraph reports that the FSA has at least come up with an alternative – ‘desk holidays’ in which traders switch to colleagues’ books, which may work just as well as two weeks’ absence on the beach, but won’t be quite as pleasant.