Pay caps at US banks, bad bonuses at European banks. What's left?

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In the unlikely event that you missed this, we thought we'd bring it to your attention that Obama is about to unveil a a $500k (346k), pay cap for executives working at any banks receiving future cash from the US Tarp fund.

Precisely how much of an impact this will have depends upon the definition of executives. Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism says it will probably only apply to the five people listed on the proxy statement.

Less promisingly, further pay restrictions are to be announced for the next fifty staff below. But as the Wall Street Journal's Deal Journal points out, even this might not have a huge impact - there are probably more than 10,000 employees of Wall Street banks who pocketed $1m over the past three years.

Nevertheless, if you still aspire to retire before thermal underwear becomes a consideration it's a definite step in the wrong direction.

This also comes at a time when European banks have been trimming pay vigorously. To recap, UBS appears to be paying senior investment bankers nothing until 2010, Credit Suisse is doling out toxic assets, and Deutsche and Credit Suisse have let it be known that bonus pools are at least halved.

If US banks and Europeans are paying miserably, what's left? Chinese banks maybe?

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