Soccer-style pay, but could bankers sell shirts?
LONDON Aug 4 (Reuters) - Comparing bankers' salaries to footballers' pay, as Barclays' CEO did, is a "schoolboy error", a top investor watchdog said, as banks score too many own goals and couldn't sell shirts branded with star bankers' names.
On Monday John Varley, chief executive of British bank Barclays Plc, said the priority for him and his top investment banker Bob Diamond was to field the best team possible.
"That in a sense is exactly the same as a football manager, if they are going to win. Our obligation is to ensure we pay appropriately to attract and retain the best people," Varley said.
But borrowing a term from soccer punditry, corporate governance advisory service PIRC said Varley made some "schoolboy errors", mixing up soccer's clearly defined "wins" with banking's unclear outcomes.
"If we look at the behaviour of some in the banking sector in recent history, though it looked as if they were scoring goals at the time, now it transpires that they were actually belting the ball into their own net. Not only that, but spectators were charged a hefty fee on the way out of the ground for the privilege.
"And of course the big names in football also help drive merchandising for their clubs. To be honest, we're sceptical that Barclays will ever make money selling shirts with Bob Diamond's name printed on the back." (Editing by Will Waterman)
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