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'HK may replace London' in 2015

(Shanghai Daily)

08:40, November 14, 2012

BONUSES for 2012 in London's financial sector will more than halve to 1.6 billion pounds (US$2.5 billion) in total, a study has found, and some shareholders are urging banks to cut pay even more.

The handouts will keep falling until 2015, the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) said, reflecting the impact of tougher financial market conditions and public disquiet over the size of banker payouts.

Yet the impact of the squeeze on the sector goes further than bonus payments and the researchers also said employment in London's banks, brokerages and other financial sector firms --- collectively known as the City - will keep shrinking.

They said this would allow rival center, China's Hong Kong, to overtake London by size in the next three years.

Banking job cuts have hit London hard in the past three years as eurozone woes and regulation eat into firms' income, and a further slowdown in stock trading and mergers and acquisitions is expected to affect pay levels for 2012.

Payouts have also fallen after a public backlash over big bonuses, blamed for helping create the climate which led to the financial crisis which started in 2008. Shareholders upset about poor returns are becoming more demanding, too.

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