Banker bonus clampdown has potential upside for Russia

G 20 Finance ministers have thrown their support behind tighter regulation of banker's pay. That has a possible upside for Russian banks.

After the financial turmoil and bailouts of the last year, the G20 nations didn't surprise anyone in agreeing to tougher rules on banking bonuses.

But if regulations are imposed in Europe, there is no sign that Russia would follow. That would leave independent, Russian owned banks unaffected.

Tremayne Elson, Managing Director at recruitment company, Antal Russia, says this will provide them with a competitive advantage.

“Banks which will come less under the scrutiny of Western authorities will have a competitive advantage. To be able to attract people by being able to, or having the potential to, pay bigger bonuses is clearly an advantage for a smaller bank, and an advantage for banks that are resident in Russia. If they are not under the overall jurisdiction of authorities in the West, it has to be a good thing for Russia.”

The clampdown on bank bonuses is widely regarded as political concession to public pressure. Opinion of bankers and their bonuses is at an all time low in many Western countries.

Nobel Prize winning economist, Robert F. Engle III, feels a new, more constructive, pay scheme may be more effective.

"We shouldn't ban bonuses, but restructure the way they're paid so they're more commensurate with the risk the company is taking… if a company takes a risk and they go bankrupt then people lose money. It’s not the end of the world its the penalty for taking too much risk."

For now at least, the roller coaster of working as a banker in emerging markets seems worth the risk.