Golden parachutes provide income when the executive leaves the company before the end of a specific period of time and – in the Financial Times – Ben McLannahan reports on top banking executives pocketing millions of dollars before taking jobs in government:
“Critics argue that such benefits, which do not apply to people quitting for other jobs in the private sector, have ensured a succession of financial insiders in senior policy positions and deferential treatment towards Wall Street”.
The revolving door
Citi is among a handful of big banks allowing government-bound staff to cash out of incentive programmes by accelerating the vesting of their stock awards. Citi has been a particularly rich source of state appointees in recent years, from Jack Lew, the Treasury Secretary, to Stanley Fischer, vice-chairman of the Federal Reserve. The latest to move was that of Antonio Weiss, a former banker now serving as a counsellor to Mr Lew, who acknowledged December that he would leave Lazard with up to $21m in unvested income and deferred compensation.
AFL-CIO, America’s biggest trade union federation which manages $94bn in assets, will begin a campaign against this practice at Citigroup’s annual shareholder meeting on Tuesday and put similar proposals to the shareholder meetings of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase in coming weeks.
67.9% of those who voted in Switzerland’s referendum seeking constitutional limits on remuneration came out in favour of the initiative, which was passed in every canton. Swiss Justice and Police Minister Simonetta Sommaruga told reporters that the result was “the expression of widespread unease in the Swiss population about the level of salaries paid to top managers.” There is also widespread unease in the British population about such matters.
The Golden Parachute ban on excessive executive salaries and other means of compensation passed into Swiss law in 2014 but some parts only come into force this year, including the binding shareholder vote on remuneration.
Or will we need a Thomas Minder (above right) to come to the rescue?
Gaza 2: poor international coverage of worldwide demonstrations against Israel’s actions – 34 sites searched
But handsome coverage by Israel’s i24, banned in Israel
A find! i24News, based in Jaffa and broadcast worldwide in English, French, and Arabic, is not available in Israel by Hot’s cable network or by satellite broadcaster DBS Satellite Services (1998) Ltd. The protests were covered well, see more here. Despite its apparently objective stance, PM Benjamin Netanyahu has refused a request by owner Patrick Drahi – a ‘Franco-Israeli’ telecommunications tycoon – to allow i24 News to be broadcast in Israel.
The Washington Times headlined news of a French demonstration – but only emphasising violence during the protests in Paris. There was no mention of US and actions elsewhere.
But Iran’s Press TV directed us to one of America’s protests: “More than a thousand pro-Palestinian protesters have taken to the streets in the US Colorado state capital of Denver to condemn Israel’s ongoing onslaught against the Gaza Strip. The demonstrators gathered on Saturday at the Colorado State Capitol building, calling for an end to the Israeli attacks on the besieged coastal enclave. The gathering was followed by a march through Denver, during which the protesters held protest signs and Palestinian flags and chanted, “free, free Palestine, the occupation is a crime.”
Though Colorado’s Newsday covered Gaza’s plight admirably it remained strangely silent about the demonstrations in its own state.
New Zealand’s Scoop covered events in Gaza at length but did not refer to any demonstrations.
Times of India: appeared to cover the Kashmir demonstrations because of police killing of a demonstrator.
Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News carried a full account of the demos and a strong condemnation by Turkish leaders: “Turkish leaders have strongly condemned an Israeli ground operation into Gaza that has killed scores of civilians, declaring the Israeli administration – in another article – as a “threat to international peace . . .
“Israel advised its citizens on July 19 not to travel to Turkey, citing “the public mood” after heated protests there against Israel’s ground offensive into Gaza. The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem said Israelis should “avoid non-essential visits” to Turkey – once Israel’s closest regional ally – or be especially vigilant and steer clear of anti-Israel demonstrations”.
Constructive moves by sensible Switzerland
Swiss Info, after reporting on Gaza at length and covering the Zurich demo, announced that the Swiss foreign ministry is holding exploratory talks for an international conference on the respect of humanitarian law in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian authorities. The ministry confirmed it had received a letter from the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, urging Switzerland, as a depository state of the Geneva Conventions, to convene a meeting of the signatory states.
Campaign: remove covert corporate influence from political life – 3: a reference to the Swiss example
How can the representatives of the people be restrained from seeking to be influential? Addressing this question in the FT, Costa Vayenas* presents the admirable Swiss precedent:
- The country has no prime minister.
- There are no full-time members of parliament.
- The budget has to be balanced over the cycle.
- Taxes cannot be raised without the people’s direct consent (the ballot papers, accompanied by return envelopes, are posted to the voter’s home)..
“Consequently, there is not much left for politicians to be influential about. Such an approach works here, but I do not see it being copied elsewhere.”
*Costa Vayenas, Brugg, Switzerland, probably the head of Emerging Markets research at UBS Wealth Management.
Tried and tested
Assisted-suicide and/or euthanasia is legal in Columbia, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland and three American states: Oregon, Washington, and Montana.
Tony Nicklinson, who was paralysed from the neck down following a stroke in 2005, died peacefully today of natural causes.
He wanted the right to die yet was unable to take his own life or take a cocktail of lethal drugs prepared for him.
High Court judges ruled the issue was for Parliament to decide; knowing that, why did they admit the case?
Mr Nicklinson said he was “devastated” by the decision – in an article he wrote for the BBC, he had described his life as “a living nightmare”.