If you're not following Joris Luyendijk's excellent Banking Blog in the Guardian, you should rectify that oversight post haste. This week's episode covers a derivatives trader who is forthright on the subject of the FSA:
The trouble is, regulators are idiots. I am sorry to put it so bluntly but you can't expect it any other way. If an investment bank hires a graduate, two years later they will be making over £100,000. Meanwhile at the regulators you are getting £30,000. Why would a smart, aggressive, competitive 22-year-old decide to work for the Financial Services Authority?He's right. The other end of it is when a banker puts in a number of years but doesn't rise far or accumulate much wealth because he's not great at his job; the only real option for parlaying his position into another finance-related job with a better sweat/bread ratio is for him to head to a reasonably senior position in the FSA on the back of his "experience".
The trader seems to have a refreshingly clear perspective on his work:
"Banking is very honest, you can measure performance and keep score. On the other hand there are so many elements contributing to your performance that you do not control (market conditions, what product you trade, how interested clients are in what you offer them). So sometimes it feels like a very expensive prison term.Personally I'd be happy to put him in charge of whatever organisation in the BoE takes over the FSA's role, and pay him a salary comparable to his current compensation, rather than the likely parade of "yes men" and professional civil servants that are the likely candidates in reality. We can dream.