The latest machination to be employed is the off-balance sheet ruse that substitutes hard cash for shares. This devious but hardly subtle trick fools nobody and reveals the depths to which this once revered profession has sunk.
Can there be any doubt that the banking industry has become the Sodom and Gomorrah of the financial services world? Overpaid bosses are not prepared to answer to anyone – not even shareholders who have seen their capital dwindle and dividends dry up.
In the face of such profligacy – which reveals regulation to be a toothless tiger – these captains of industry can’t wait to feather their nests while simultaneously repossessing the nests of others.
So should we applaud the recently announced Treasury review of banking practices which, it is claimed, will include a penetrating look at pay and bonuses?
Well, don’t hold your breath. Heading the review will be a poacher turned gamekeeper so the hot money’s on realignment rather than radical reform.
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg for once sums up the nation’s view pretty well when he says that “You don’t need a review to answer the simple question, should senior bankers receive bonuses? The answer is no”.
Such political clarity is rare these days and is refreshing.