Simon English: Did yuppies deserve more bucks for their Bang?

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City traders and bankers get paid way too much, the rest of us can safely agree from our serene position of having no care for money and zero interest in getting any more.

But what we think of as too much has certainly shifted.

One of the most striking bits of Iain Martin’s latest book Crash Bang Wallop, an account of Big Bang 30 years ago and what it did to the nation, is what City folk were paid back then. In 1987 — that’s post-Bang, remember — The Times reported a survey on banker pay. As competition for top talent surged, salaries jumped to exceptional levels. Why, some bankers made more than £100,000 a year. Imagine. 

A top Eurobond dealer could get a whacking £84,000. The cheek of it. A mere director of corporate finance £62,000. Had he no shame?

These days, such salaries barely allow you on to the Inner London housing ladder. Even allowing for inflation, those pay cheques don’t seem remarkable. 

Perhaps bankers could protest that they were getting ripped off back then. They could form a union to demand back pay, and march down Bishopsgate with placards calling for reparation. 

That would at least get them on the news so their case could be heard.

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October 18, 2016 |
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