Belfast Telegraph

Cable plays down 'bank move risk' over bonus clampdown

Business Secretary Vince Cable played down warnings that banks could move their operations to Asia if Western nations clamp down too hard on bonuses.

Sir Philip Hampton, chairman of the largely taxpayer-owned Royal Bank of Scotland, warned this week that there was "absolutely the possibility" of markets leaving Europe if it was no longer a good place to do business.

But Mr Cable, who is visiting China as part of Prime Minister David Cameron's trade delegation, said it was in the national interest for the Government to push ahead with regulations to deal with bonuses.

The Business Secretary told Bloomberg TV that warnings banks may leave London were "a familiar negotiating technique and clearly one has to listen to them - one has to take these things seriously". But he added: "It's clear you have to balance that against our national interest. Banks have to be safe and that means regulations have to take into account potential problems created by cash bonuses."

Sir Philip, who is also part of the trade mission, said: "There is absolutely the possibility that more markets will move outside London and outside Europe if it is not such a good place to do business." He predicted financial markets in Asia to grow strongly, adding: "There is a danger they will take more of the really global wholesale markets as well."