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February 27, 2009
Posted: 1346 GMT

Should Sir Fred, the former CEO of RBS, voluntarily return part of his million dollar pension?

Sir Fred was granted a £16 million pension pot as part of an agreement to leave the bank last year. This generates a pension worth in excess of $1 million a year.  But RBS is now majority owned by the British Government, and on Thursday declared the largest corporate loss in UK history.

The Prime Minister, Gordon Brown wants to claw some of that money back. There are icy letters between Sir Fred and the government minister Lord Myners setting out their "You agreed to it" and "Oh no I didnt" argument.

Legally? The money is probably Sir Fred's to keep. He can't be blamed if government and bank foolishly didn't read the small print, allowing him to fill his boots with cash. Morally? Ahhhh, now we enter a different world.

Sir Fred agreed to take a smaller payoff when he left RBS because it was the right thing to do – he called it a gesture. And now he says he has made enough "gestures." He is keeping his pension "entitlement."

Lord Myners puts his view bluntly: "I hope that on reflection you will now share my clear view that the losses reported today by the bank which you ran until October cannot justify such a huge award."

So there you have it. "We want the money back" shrieks one side. "You aint getting it" shouts the other.

Let me go out on a limb here – if I were Sir Fred, would I give the money back? If I honestly believed the government knew about the pension, and had agreed to it? I will forever be known as one of the worst bankers in the world. My place in financial history is unfortunately secured. So why not just take the money ... I can live in luxury whatever people maybe saying.

What would you do?

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Michael C. McHugh   February 27th, 2009 3:16 pm ET

It's very hard for me to imagine myself as Sir Fred or to conceive looking at the world from way up there in the clouds at the masses of peasants, serfs and wage slaves way below.

Only once did I ever get near his world. This was many years ago when the Age of Reagan was just getting underway, and I had a chance to get in on the ground floor of the big free market boom that has now ended. I could have gone to work for a large NY firm, like so many of my contemporaries were doing.

The main thing that stopped me was that I just didn't want to work with a bunch of guys who all wore identical blue suits, white shirts and red ties every day. Something just told me that I would not want to be a clone like them, that fundamentally I didn't think like them anyway. I made a deliberate choice at a young age to be poorer, if not wiser.

From what I know of men like Sir Fred, I'm sure he has a very well-developed sense of entitlement, and cannot imagine what all the fuss is about among the peons down below–who are now losing their jobs, their houses and their pensions, if they ever had any in the first place.

I'm sure that he believes it is God's will that he keep as much money as he can get his hands on.

o2miller   February 27th, 2009 3:32 pm ET

I agree that legally he may be entitled but morally he should try and lessen the pain.Maybe a goodwill gesture of only half of the pension would be enough for his family to maintain their expensive livestyle.

I read in the NYTimes that executives can't afford to live on US$500 grand a year in Manhattan. Could they do that in London?

Tinus   February 27th, 2009 4:04 pm ET

Let's be honest, in the current economic circumstances it is "take what you can and run". Nobody knows when things will become better, it might just become worse. We should ask the question: Would I have given up that pension? My answer: Most probably not.

bada babatope james   February 27th, 2009 7:20 pm ET

this is not morally justified for this man to even accept the 16m pounds pension pay out because the bank is recording losses and investors are bearing the brunt of sir fred and co non-performance and he is to be rewarded on top of that,its seems to me that the most crooks in africa"i mean those who steal our money here "are holier than most of these Bank chiefs,they are an embarassment to the west!

Onno Frowein   February 28th, 2009 8:47 am ET

I am getting sick and tired how incompetent bankers are bailed out with billions of Pounds, Dollars and Euro's. When are the goverments bailing out Playboy Clubs? We see that bankers despite the taxpayer's money continue to party around. What makes banks so different from other companies in trouble during this economic crisis. Banks are usually the first ones to pull the rug or in banking circles the umbrella when a company or person is in trouble. With banks we see that the parasite culture is not only at the top but goes all the way down to the credit officer. The whole subprime mortgage scandal started at street level in pursuit of extra bonuses. Bankers are spoiled by their own greed and incompetence and now they have to pay for it. I still do not understand the urge by governments to bailout banks unless the very same governments are covering up their own incompetence such as is proven in the case of Mr. Goodwin's pension millions. It only shows that governments have no ability to run banks so they should stay out of it. We live in a recession which may be a great time to break with the banking traditions and start with new type of financial institutions with the billions of taxpayer's money that are now thrown out of the window.
Onno Frowein, The Netherlands

Ramsi Hashash   February 28th, 2009 1:07 pm ET

Look if we talk about morals and ethics, than we should not talk about business, since the two do not match. Everyone talks about morals, but honestly who has not tried to "kind off" cheap the tax department by trying to add things to your annual tax return. Is that a moral act?

Ah now you say that there is a difference in amount, no Sir sorry there is not, because it is not about the amount it is about rules, regulations, contracts, agreements and the law.

So since it is not about morals the matter of the fact is that governments like in the RBS case are at fault to allow someone to sign such a contract. Contractually it is what it is, so why should he give it back?

If an employee makes a mistake which cost the company a lot of money and he/she get's fired over it would he or she have to return the pension?

Guys common if the government would have approached Sir Fred secretly he probably would have gone public and would have said "I decided to forfeit my pension" and he would have been seen as a hero.

But the government went public and so kind of put the gun on his chest and he decided, "ah you want to play that game, good I can play hard too."

The problem is that you will find hardly any executive who truly has a performance related contract and if they have the KPI used is a joke. This is where the first problem is.

the 2nd issue is simple when you talk about public companies, how many share holders truly attend a annual share holders meeting? How many truly observe the right to vote on issues? How many simply just sign over the right to vote to the bank which manages the shares.

Do I have to go on? One can control a boards package by voting during those annual share holder meetings. Problem is that people will always say what will my vote change, nothing.

So if we talk about morals, this behavior of not voting not involving yourselves in the activities of the company you own shares is to me on the same morality level as the one we are talking about when talking about Sir Fred.

Shareholders are as responsible as those who run the company.

This is my 50cents worth opinion. :-)

Ori Ginor   March 1st, 2009 7:50 pm ET

I just don't get it. Really...how in the world does someone who sends a company into the abyss possibly deserve rewards? I think the win-win nature of banking is inexcusable. How is it that only the investors have something to lose and the execs end up with huge pay-offs? Am I the only one left dazed and confused by all this? It's time to wake up and pay the piper.

YF Leong   March 2nd, 2009 8:44 am ET

Considering those who might have lost their life savings in the bank, and others who are not so well off as Sir Fred, the only decent thing is for him to do is to return the money........or burn in hell!!!

R.BROWN, KOBLENZ   March 2nd, 2009 12:22 pm ET

Not under any cicumstances.
It will be the first time in history that someone has benefited from organising a catastrofic disaster.

Dear Richard
Perhaps you could find time on your excellent programme to explain to a simple lad like myself why Governments are reluctant to go the whole hog and NATIONALISE BANKS.Is it due to pressure from NAMELESS WEALTHY SHAREHOLDERS.

Jess   March 2nd, 2009 12:45 pm ET

Having recently left the banking world and the greed associated with it I was not at all surprised at Sir Fred's stance.
What I find hard ot believe is that the government did not realise that this was going to happen. Sir Fred gave up a year's salary as he knew he had his pension. The time for negotiation is now over. The government has their chance to reduce his pension and missed it.

Chuck Hamilton   March 2nd, 2009 1:04 pm ET

Sir Fred and all of the other CEO's/Board Members of any financial institution that is losing money should not get a bonus of any kind. Fact is the stock holders should push to get some of the money back they already received based on a percentage of how long they were in charge against how long they were with the institution. If it is 100% so be it. You don't pay some one for doing a bad job. On the bottom end of the pile you get fired and get nothing except a bad reference.

Marc Menhams   March 2nd, 2009 1:40 pm ET

If Sir Fred keeps the cash it will be like adding insult to injury.

Sir Fred will argue his case to perfection, surely. Since it's all written in his contract, he can be confident in a home run.

But how on earth can this stand the test of common sense?

Comes a time when rules change when circumstances require it. It would be to his honour to understand, adapt and accept.

Marc Menhams
Belgium

John   March 2nd, 2009 1:43 pm ET

As Richard Branson said on the telly last night, the most important thing you can preserve in business and personal life is your reputation.

Jesus Christ   March 2nd, 2009 1:58 pm ET

"Legally? The money is probably Sir Fred’s to keep."

Universally it is not. He should respect The Universe, which gave him a chance to exist.

Jesus Christ   March 2nd, 2009 2:25 pm ET

And No One deserves The Right to make more than 2000$ a month on this Planet if We decided to live The Life based on numbers.

Jane Perry UK   March 2nd, 2009 2:54 pm ET

I hope that Gordon Brown, Osbourne and the people at the FSA are going to give up their generous salaries as well for their incompetence.

B Coppens   March 2nd, 2009 4:04 pm ET

Legislation should have been changed several years ago when it became clear that "greed" was the only norm which was being pursued by most bankers and other managers who could determine their own entitlements (which is already unhealthy in itself). As far as I am concerned everybody is entitled to a decent salary and that can be discussed. Nobody however, no matter where and for what kind of activity, should receive any premium at all for only doing their job in the first place. The situation is of course particularly unbearable if managers receive a premium or an unreasonable pension package in compensation for running the company in the red or plainly in the ground. Legal action should be taken to force Sir Fred and only similar criminals like Madoff etc to pay back and face legal action and prison time. Why is a poor person stealing a bread arrested and are white collar criminals left alone ... ?

John Elkass   March 2nd, 2009 6:56 pm ET

As taxpayers we need to keep our tax returns for at least five years for probable examination should the IRA decides to check the integrity of the figures stated in these returns. If these figures turn out to be false, not only tax levies should be paid, but also penalties and perhaps jail sentence depending on the gravity of the offence perpetrated by us the simple taxpayers. This being said, shouldn’t Sir Fred be subject to the same mantra and stringent rules that normal taxpayers are subjected to. If we assume he should, then the last five years of his reign should be examined for lack of integrity in providing the figures, in any possible concealment of negative results, in cooking the accounting records, in falsifying any records that led to the debacle of his bank. A bank that falls so quickly and so heavily should have had his edifice shaken so intensely to have this free fall. Such structural malfunctioning is mainly attributable to senior managements as they are the ones formulating macro decisions – of which Sir Fred was the top senior management fellow.

If this were to be done, I assume Sir Fred would undoubtedly be found guilty of many transgressions, not the least giving a false picture of his bank to the public.

A bank is not a charitable institution nor is it a simple company where people pool their money in to execute a type of work. If the work falters, the company is shut down and the shareholders simply loose their money they put in this endeavor and the matter is closed with no ripple effects. A bank is an institution entrusted with people’s money. Their mission should have been not to devour people’s money through falsification of records to gain bonuses and pensions they don’t deserve.

This being said, I believe not only should Sir Fred stripped of his pension, which he surely doesn’t deserve, but should also be examined for any misdeeds that he committed during his tenure at the helm of his bank.

Finally, I do think the title of Sir should be reconsidered in light of what happened to his bank. Most probably this title should be revoked.

John Elkass   March 2nd, 2009 7:14 pm ET

I would like to comment on Michael's point: You're right in what you said. I may also add that any blue colored employee – I was one – who disagrees with his peers is trashed and laid off instantly. It's a weird world where dignity is in short supply and integrity relegated behind the doors. Excessive greed has led to many transgressions. I bet you that what we're witnessing right now is just the tip of the iceberg. There will be many calamities yet to come. With all the governmental control mechanism in place, such incidents should not have happened at all. It's a shame to penalize us people for all the faulty governmental institutions we put our trust into.

Our kids will have to endure a very hard future. Their livelihood would be threatened.

It is time to do the right thing: governments should examine these CEO's actions and decide not only if their pensions should be paid, but also if the past bonuses and remunerations they received were justifiable.

Am I hoping for the impossible here!!!!

Manisha Goel   March 2nd, 2009 7:50 pm ET

I will for sure give my pension back as I dont want to be remembered as a greedy banker. Sure if I keep the money I will be remembered as the worst banker ever but if I give my pension back atleast I will be remembered for few years as a good person, nothing else I would sleep peacefully at night.

Rupert Erskine   March 2nd, 2009 8:00 pm ET

last Friday you asked about the banking disaster and what we thought about it, i think they are bank robbers. Let them keep their money, The public should put presure on these bank robbers get them to leave UK and the US. they are not well come here in the modern world, far away from their comforts. They should pay for their crimes by been hated by the public!

Andrey   March 2nd, 2009 8:10 pm ET

No way Sir Fred should be returning his pension. By any standard, it is a not huge payout for a someone in his position, and he deserved every penny of it. I am not returning the money if I am in his position.

That is just another example of a government putting the blame on corporate scape goat for world-wide failure of regulators. I cannot call it anything but appeasing lowest instincts of poorer voters while hiding own failures.

Robert Martin   March 2nd, 2009 9:13 pm ET

Dear Richard,

I would find it very difficult to give back any of my pension. However, Sir Fred should give some of it back.

Enjoy your show and it is entertaining given the gloom and doom.

Take care

Robert

Craig Eyles   March 2nd, 2009 9:21 pm ET

We had this debate on one of our Melboourne radio programs.
If, for example, CNN gave you $1 million bonus for doing this program & it stunk (which it DOESN'T) would you give the money back voluntarily?? I wouldn't.
On the other hand, to say that you need the money to live your "day to day" life, that's unrealistic, as some replies have suggested.

G David   March 2nd, 2009 9:44 pm ET

Fred should not have to pay anything back, this contact went through before the bank was taken over. The FSA should have been there to stop the mismanagement in the first place. Why isn't anyone talking about that? The FSA is a government agency, which didn't do it's job. Therefore the government is to blame.
Fred may not be morally right to keep the pension but he got it fair and square. The government should have done its due diligence before they took it over, NOT after. I blame the government 100%. The horse has bolted Gordon..wake up!

Nikos Panagiotidis   March 2nd, 2009 9:51 pm ET

The $1 CEO should be mandated from now on. Would really give a totally new meaning of putting money where your mouth is ....

Claudio Olimpio   March 2nd, 2009 9:52 pm ET

Dear Richard:

Firstly congratulations for your Quest means business and your lovely desk bell !

I noticed you never mention Brazil and our state-of-the-art NPS-National Payment System ( http://www.bcb.gov.br/?PAYMENTSYSTEM ) where we clear and settle the Derivatives on a Clearing House.

Our banks are health and wealth, our former Central Bank CEO, Arminio Fraga, is the VP of the Group of the 30s, along with Paul Volker and Larry Summers and our current Central Bank CEO, Henrique Meireles, is the former BankBoston International President ... we together with India and China are the only 3 countries in this world that will grow in 2009.

Warmest regards

Kassim Mahmud Tanko Lokoja   March 3rd, 2009 1:40 am ET

BATTLE BETWEEN MORALITY AND LAW...a Classical case of SIR FRED

Yes Sir Fred, was only being detail and thorough as it is with bankers. Ok, come! To look at it from personal finacial point of view....mr Fred will want to continue on his roller-coaster of being at the helm of affairs at RBS, this was cut short no thanks to his retirement.. a premature one? Is a subject left to be discuss another day.

Now back to te issue of the moment, I candidly think he should be pay without reduction or pay-cut. why? This base on the contractual agreement...basis; Law of Contract. So changing hand of company ownership has no effect on Fixed contractual agreement. well for the reason of mutual concession... He might just conceed.

So Quest, let me tell you about the the disconnect between morality and Law, this two are mutually exclusive and in some cases independent event. But the conservative mind see from the prism of morality, while the so call progressive view it from law..like it is of the case of Abortion in united state. What in essence am saying; legally He is entitle, though with option of moral concession(mind me "Option" not "Alternative").
Also, this has go along way to denounce government as a good manager of business(except for critical sector that affect the citizen's life directly..like power,Climate,real sector etc). So "there is no Business of government doing business".
Please Richard Quest say this to my, man-made impoverish country Nigeria, due to bad leadership and lack of Understanding of the very essence being a leader. They (Nigeria leaders ) are spiritualy deficit, moraly bankrupt and culturally disconnect with the true African-conservatism, and respect for Humanity and strong family tie and brotherhood.My leaders steal with utmost impunity, their semilitude or them been worst than "highway army bandict".but one regret i have is all they steal are conceal by European countries and American, while things like that are woesome and disgusting there. The irony of it is the society celebrate this thieves and bandict, like receiving traditional title, receiving honorarium from citadel of light e.g Educational institution, what a confuse society we live. Here there are no basic health,education,social and even cultural amenities available. All these is not because we are not rich by design ,but arm-twisted by the people we elect to lead us. What a shame on my country Nigeria..in 21st century it can not conduct free and creadible election, no wonder it never meet any acceptable standard anywhere in the world, ours is the case of worst election and yet the Chairman of the Electoral body the so call proffesor is not remorseful, me i call him a naughty proffesor. coz is worst than that in eddy murphy's movie!

Please donor Agencies i have advise for you particularly in your efforts in Africa dont give you money to any leader, go directly or by the use of honest local consultant, do what is call "need-acessment" then go direct and impact on the lives of ordinary citizens ,if not you will only succeed in wasting your tax-payers money in the name of Aid and consequently enriching "Elities bandict".

Thank you for this opportunity.....stay bless Richard Quest, God bless CNN with it entire crew.

legalstrategist   March 3rd, 2009 6:07 am ET

Of course he should keep it ... he had a bad 2008 but he also gave RBS 29 more years, which I presume were pretty successful for them because Sir Fred sure accomplished a climb from the ground floor to the Chairman's Office!!! If Brown presented legislation to reverse it and I were a Judge, I would throw it out so fast Brown and the group would feel the wind. Why, THE MAN GAVE THEM 30 YEARS, 29 OF WHICH HAD TO BE SUCCESSFUL or he would have been booted sooner.

legalstrategist   March 3rd, 2009 6:22 am ET

ANSWER TO JOHN ELKAS ... where was Sir Fred's crystal ball?? Could he see what was going to happen in the future??? The answer has to be no, sir, so wake up! The economy fell because millions of people and the Banks got greedy, so what will you do now, fill your jails and pay the lot from our taxes to feed these greedy blokes while they contemplate their navel in prison???
You people have to remember one thing. You are very intelligent in your hindsight and very stupid in your forsight.
You need these educated people with fire to lead and do well in business or business will NEVER succeed but you also jump real hard on them when then make an honest mistake in judgement. AND I DO NOT SUPPORT SIR FRED IN ANY WAY. I AM BEING A REALIST. So quit your crying and let the man enjoy his well negotiated winnings for 30 years work.

Alasdair   March 3rd, 2009 8:33 am ET

Had the British government not stepped in, RBS would be bankrupt, RBS would be unable to pay the pension, and Fred would be entitled to around 27,000 pounds per year. The government only stepped in because it is a bank. Though I understand why the government would wish to save a bank, I don't think that courtesy extends to its failed management. Give him the amount he would get if the bank had gone bust. Of course, morally speaking, Fred doesn't have a leg to stand on. These bigwigs happily take the (in recent years, grossly excessive) benefits of success, and should take the hit when they fail.

Gail Duncan   March 3rd, 2009 9:12 am ET

For all of us slow folks who did bad in history/economics, give us a brief lesson on the money masters, who owns the Federal Reserve, the money changers, fractional banking and the whole silver/gold/tally stick/green back history and compare it to what is going on now. Who was it that said "...money should not be a master but a servant to humanity?" Help me out here if you will.

Emeka (Glasgow)   March 3rd, 2009 10:21 am ET

Sir,

Sir Fred has practically been labelled as the reason for the financial crisis last year. I think he was over ambitious with the purchase of Abn-Amro but that was about the single mistake he made in such an illustrious career and everybody is baying for his blood? The British press should just let him be. If I were him, I would keep the pension pot and fight for it with the last hair on my skin.
I also have a word for the Prime Minister, I would advice him not to get any more entangled with this issue, it is beneath him. He should not be involved in a shouting match with anyone as he currently is.

Antony   March 3rd, 2009 11:05 am ET

I would give up the money only if Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling returned their salaries to the British people and gave up their pensions as well. Otherwise, I'd keep every penny.

A.Ramm-Ericson   March 3rd, 2009 12:52 pm ET

After massive criticism the head of Swedish Mail Lars G Nordström abstained from his 900 000 SEK monthly salary (a total 5.4 million SEK).

His comments were as follows " ...I do not like to be perceived as greedy...I therefore abstain from the salary I have received and further am to receive...my decision is based out of concern for the Swedish Post (Mail), it's employees and customers..."

It might be added that he had a handsome pension of 5 million SEK per year from a previous employer.

Michael Musasizi   March 3rd, 2009 1:24 pm ET

Very difficult situation.

But am sure that after all he has achieved during his years of service for RBS and the Banking Industry, he is still in the best position to make the right call with regard to his final pay check.

Lets leave it up to the man himself!

Bobby   March 3rd, 2009 3:30 pm ET

Richard,
Your ideas are refreshing and deep but maybe we ought bare in mind the following: the so called "economic laws" are nowdays like Newton´s mechanichs compared to quantum´s, when smaller objetcs moving at a greater speed won´t behave according to Newton´s laws a new theory emerged, this is the case, during the times from Smith to Keynes when the old laws were formulated they are nonetheless absolutely unable to meassure today´s economical expantion, we need new theories and a reformulation of the quantum economics, i.e. if we´re to refer to billions and trillions then the statement by the HSBC people "our higest ranked executivies" weren´t in the position to understand the nature and essence of the crisis, old economical laws and econometrical models are simply outdated and overun by the speed of the actual events and statte of affairs.

Hope that whatever we do is like you say, profitable.

Dirna Wang   March 3rd, 2009 5:53 pm ET

The full details I've seen, the decision looks too ugly. I knew this took too long to reach an agreement and nobody got the slightest idea how many sterling pounds had to change for dollars.

Cathleen Young   March 3rd, 2009 7:16 pm ET

I was thinking I just love to hear recommendations acting like bible-book. Anyone as wise as Mr Quest isn't it plain simple to play one's wallet. One time written mistake isn't mistake until proved, dismissed by law.
And as Mr Hansdy is saying in general meeting you can't afford to say no (in key person question) without long-term purpose.
A little extra pay and little more expertise.

Simon   March 4th, 2009 2:57 am ET

If Sir Fred was asked to leave the RBS because he was incompetent,there is no way he should be entitled to that sort of payout. In the real would, if you are sacked you leave with nothing except a box with your meager belongings and an escort off the premises. What is it with these people, who are only legends in their lunch time, that they think they are entitled to hugh sums of money which, when its worked back, was put there by the working man or woman in any case and what is it with the people who give it too them.
ALL THIS MUST STOP NOW. THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD MUST RISE UP AND STOP THIS CORRUPTION. PEOPLE POWER IS THE ANSWER.

Marc Cannizzo   March 4th, 2009 8:36 am ET

Cricket under attack! The terrorists in Pakistan have gone too far!
The brave policemen who laid down their lives defending the Sri Lankan cricket team knew what they were fighting for. I dare say had they been escorting politicans they would probably have scattered like rabbits.
Marc Cannizzo
Bucharest Romania.

Dave Renaud   March 4th, 2009 2:28 pm ET

I don't think it is wise to have government control extending into the private sector. Oversight, definately, but not control. In Sir Fred's case it would be nice to think that he would "do the right thing" and return part, if not all, of the money, but that would be niave. Any CEO in whatever corporation believes that he/she earns what he/she can get the company or the Board of Directors to pay him/her. I haven't heard of any CEO's going on record because they are over paid, have you.
The rest of us are just in the wrong line of work.

rahul   March 4th, 2009 9:12 pm ET

if a normal person commits a default for eg while driving he is applied with a fine, if a shopkeeper charges bit more the consumer department fines him..... so why should such bankers not charged with heavy penalties ....
A common man just to make a living works hard daily to bring up his family and he deposit his saving with these guys who call themselves professionals... BULLSHIT..... how can these guys be professionals who dont know how to run a business, take irresponsible decisions , bail themselves out with millions of dollars and then resign from their jobs to have a better living............and then they laugh at a common man by saying the word SORRY in the congress or in thebritish parliament..
these guys should be paid a penny in the pension and made to live like all the other common people who strive daily for their bread and butter... IN OTHER WORDS THESE ARE THEIVES WITH A WHITE COLLAR JOBS WHO ARE MAKING FUN OF COMMON PEOPLE...

Yemisi Ogunleye   March 5th, 2009 1:32 pm ET

While I understand why people are angry about the pension, frankly I think 'Sir Fred' is just a scape-goat here for the government to be able to say "we punished one of them"! If the £650,000 is already a cut in his original pension then I think he already made his gesture.

Goodwill and all that? Mmmm How many of people who are bad mouthing him would give up the money? And even if he was to give up half of it, can it really help the bank get out of trouble or fix the recession? I doubt it, but then again I'm no financial expert.

I would keep the money, stay quiet until the media looses interest in the story, and enjoy my pension.

Kay   March 5th, 2009 2:53 pm ET

I agree with John Elkass. It would be nice to live in a society where everyone tried to do the right thing. Unfortunately, it doesn't work. Even with the laws we do have, there are numerous people who do not report all of their income on annual tax returns, pay employees on a "contract" basis to keep from paying payroll taxes, hire undocumented workers to keep from paying minimum wage, etc. They often spend more to keep from paying taxes than it would be to just pay the tax. I've always believed that filing accurate, timely tax returns is easier in the long run than fighting with the IRS. But then I'm one of those that fought with company staff to pay a woman the same as a man that she was training to be her assistant, envoked the fear of a lawsuit to force the president of the company to hire a 51 year old, well qualified secretary instead of the 25 year old much less qualified woman. It's tough to do the right thing when you are a single mother with a family to support unless you know that the laws are on your side. Believe me, the whistle-blower laws are thin and shaky.

min   March 5th, 2009 3:42 pm ET

It's simple. He should keep it. This is what was agreed to by both parties. Contracts have to be respected or else...

Gail E Duncan   March 5th, 2009 4:46 pm ET

Money, money, money...Can money cure us of selfishness, egotism, rascism and total planet distruction? Will we let money be our master and not a servant for people/all people? Can this materialistic attitude of ours help the poor, the hungry, the sick and bring us closer together as humans? What percentage of the worlds people have the most money and why? This game of money has rules.......what are the 10 rules on top? Will we ever be honest with the masses and finally learn what humanity means and act accordingly? Hello? Is there anybody out there who gives a flying ....?

Gib Dik   March 5th, 2009 7:37 pm ET

I am sick of all these criticisms from a bunch of sheep and lemmings!

When all was fine, we were told the bankers and CEOs deserved their income because "...they are the best and brightest talent and you need to throw millions at them to keep them." Then everyone wanted an MBA so they could be employed by an investment bank or become the CEo and make shed loads of money. I bet my bottom dollar most of the criticisms originate from those who could not get a foot in or got in too late to get their snout in the trough.

bl8ant   March 6th, 2009 7:06 pm ET

there is always the chance that whomever holds his pension and finances, goes bankrupt as well...after all this is just the beginning...the dominoes are falling neatly.

Karma comes in interesting ways, relax

richard anderson   March 12th, 2009 2:34 am ET

Which will govern. The corporate aristocracy or justice? The government should hound Sir Fred to the brink of insanity to recover ALL the pension. Sir Fred's 'entitlement' is just a function of his class as is the entire financial debacle.

Chris Hieatt   March 23rd, 2009 7:21 pm ET

Yes, I would give it back.
No one needs that much money

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