Swiss "Fat Cats" Clobbered As 70% Just Say Non/Nein/No To Excessive Executive Pay

Tyler Durden's picture

A few days ago, to the surprise of many, the European Parliament voted through substantial curbs on banker pay, limiting bonuses to twice the annual salary (we have yet to see the list of pre-existing loopholes, which we are confident will be wide enough for Arnold's hummer to pass through). Today, in a less surprising, although perhaps more notable development, more than two-thirds of the Swiss people voted through a proposal to curb "fat cat-ism" in Switzerland, and impose strict controls on executive pay, including compensation vetos and payout bans.

The development is notable, because unlike other insolvent nations, Switzerland is actually one of the most affluent sovereigns in the world, and class warfare is hardly as much an issue as it is in the US. The fact that Swiss society is as polarized as it was confirmed to be this morning, shows just how deep the rich vs, well, non-rich tensions truly lie, even in the most wealthy of societies. One can then imagine how close to snapping they are in other less well-off places, read most countries, in the world.

From BBC:

Swiss voters appear to have backed proposals to impose some of the world's strictest controls on executive pay, projected referendum results suggest.

Some 70% are thought to have supported plans to give shareholders a veto on compensation and ban big payouts for new and departing managers.

Business groups argued the proposals would damage Swiss competitiveness.

But analysts say ordinary Swiss are concerned about a growing economic divide in the country.

The vote comes just days after the EU approved measures to cap bankers bonuses.

Official first results from Geneva, where polling ended at noon (11:00 GMT), showed 67.7% voted in favour of the initiative.

Projections by polling institute Gfs.Bern for Swiss state television, based on early results, showed 70% backing the proposals across the country.

The BBC's Imogen Foulkes, in Berne, says multibillion dollar losses by Swiss banking giant UBS, and thousands of redundancies at pharmaceutical company Novartis, have caused anger in Switzerland - because high salaries and bonuses for managers continued unchanged.

The new measures will give Switzerland some of the world's strictest corporate rules, our correspondent adds.

Shareholders will have a veto over salaries, golden handshakes will be forbidden, and managers of companies who flout the rules could face prison.

The "fat cat initiative", as it has been called, will be written into the Swiss constitution and apply to all Swiss companies listed on Switzerland's stock exchange.
* * *
One of the organisers of the referendum, Brigitte Moser Harder, told the BBC she thought the Swiss people agreed with the proposals because the gap between rich and poor had become wider.

"From the beginning, 2006, we had the support of the people of Switzerland because you know not everybody in Switzerland is rich.

"It's also a social problem because the high wages got higher and the small ones sometimes just got lower. I think people have the support of the Swiss people because of that."

Meanwhile in the country in which the rich-poor gap is the widest it has ever been, there is not a single solitary voice of activism seeking to impose the same curbs on ridiculous executive compensation which has ballooned out of any proportion and can best be summarized by inforgraphics such as this:

CEO Pay Put In Perspective

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Manthong's picture

Executive to worker pay ratios are only important in failing socialist economies.

falak pema's picture

you mean they don't apply in "successful socialist economies", like China, Norway and Sweden?

What about in failing capitalist economies? 

Manthong's picture

A successful socialist system has no discontent and will succeed on its own because each provides according to his ability and each takes according to his needs.. except that there is no freedom to take according to your needs unless you are an elite which means you are not really a socialist, but a functionary or tyrant in an empire.

The concept of a successful socialist system is an oxymoron and a fallacy.

China, Norway and Sweden all exist as "successful" socialists to one extent or another due to transient distortions and manipulation of resources.

When the global bank money tide goes out the socialist boats will go down with everyone else.

The USA has turned socialist and compensation disparity is again an issue because the economy is failing.

Ahmeexnal's picture

Norway and Sweden ARE NOT SOCIALIST.

archon's picture

Making the discussion about CEO pay only distracts from the real cause of the gap between the "rich" and the "poor"... namely, that the chief mission of communists and assorted leftists worldwide is to wipe out the middle class and make them poor.  This will have a far more drastic impact on the CEO/worker pay ratio than CEO pay alone.  This then becomes fuel for class warfare as they whine and done on and on about "CEO pay inequity".  The sheep then bleat and bleat, "CEO pay... CEO pay..." as they are being led to the slaughter...

zhandax's picture

Turn off your fucking tv.  Who the hell do you think the 'rich' are?  kim cardashian and friends?

IdiocracyIsAlreadyHere's picture

Oh please with the whole "communists and leftists" and the "class warfare" schtick.  It is old and tired and completely misses the point.  The problem with CEO pay is the whole concept of "CEO" itself.  Traditional corporate structure had officers (President, Secretary, Treasurer, ect. who were elected by the board of directors/shareholders) and could be removed by the same.  The point being that officers themselves were owners/shareholders and had responsibility to look after the other shareholders or be voted out for dereliction of duty.  CEOs, CFOs, COOs, ect. are most often nothing more than excessively compensated hired guns who have no real motivation to their companies long-term success outside cashing in on their stock options and getting their golden parachute before it all goes crashing to the ground.  Repeat- CEOs ARE NOTHING MORE THAN EMPLOYEES THEMSELVES - much more overpaid, parasitical and usually more useless the low-level drone who sits around playing games and logging in to Facebook all day.  So yeah, CEO pay in relation to salary of other EMPLOYEES is an a valid issue.  

So go ahead and keep railing about "sheep" without any sort of irony or self-awareness.  The parasite class just loves people like you ranting about "the 47%" and "welfare queens" while they continue to loot what they had no part in creating on a much larger scale.


archon's picture

LMAO @ what you call the "parasite class", as if "the 47%" and "welfare queens" are the real producers in society...  You have obviously swallowed the class warfare rhetoric hook, line and sinker.  This is why America is totally f*cked - because the "47%" on government benefits thinks the other 53% of taxpayers who actually pay the bills for their welfare and food stamps are the parasites.

IdiocracyIsAlreadyHere's picture

Wow you really are a moron.  That is not what I said at all.  I merely pointed out that the bankster/CEO class is a much larger form of parasite than the welfare moochers you waste your time endlessly moaning about.  I did not make any such claim that "welfare queens" contribute any value to society - in fact they are being subsidize d by TBTF to keep you angry at minor targets while ignoring the giant bloodsucking ticks that are finding new and creative ways to extract enormous wealth for themselves while contributing very little, in fact destroying much by taking companies that once produced something then downsized, outsourced and bankrupted them while keeping all of their perks and bonuses and other goodies.  Losses?  Those are for the retail investors and the "little people" many of whom started the business in the first place.

But I'm sure you'll go on being a useful idiot with no reading comprehension.

zhandax's picture

IOW, this is what you were trying to say?

America, America has become a second-rate power. Its trade deficit and its fiscal deficit are at nightmare proportions. Now, in the days of the free market, when our country was a top industrial power, there was accountability to the stockholder. The Carnegies, the Mellons, the men that built this great industrial empire, made sure of it because it was their money at stake. Today, management has no stake in the company! All together, these men sitting up here own less than three percent of the company. And where does Mr. Cromwell put his million-dollar salary? Not in Teldar stock. He owns less than one percent. You own the company. That's right - you, the stockholder. And you are all being royally screwed over by these, these bureaucrats, with their, their steak lunches, their hunting and fishing trips, their, their corporate jets and golden parachutes.

This isn't some new discovery.  The above is from 1987.  26 fuckin' years later, Switzerland finally did something.  But they are generally considered 'quaint'.

Edward Fiatski's picture

Exactly. This is a fucking union brochure. 

When (LOL) those MOST EXCELLENT workers start a successful company and produce value, then they all could tell us to shut the fuck up & draw 7 figure salaries.

Meanwhile - Deal With It.

Itch's picture

Fat cats listening to the ramblings of people like you must get on their knees thanking god for such fools, you maniacal sycophantic arse kissing whore. Because unlike you, they are well aware that they are on the take; 78 million pounds (£££) was paid to a pharmaceutical fat cat in Switzerland in the same year he laid off over 1000 staff… but that’s not all he got, because when you meet him he’s going to get a free blow job too.

Edward Fiatski's picture

Cry me a fucking river.

Peasants with no sense of self-worth, or self-esteem - will be peasants.

IdiocracyIsAlreadyHere's picture

And the same people always whining about "unions" usually have no clue that CEOs are nothing more than EMPLOYEES themselves. Often of the most useless parasitical sort.  They often have no ownership interest in the company whatsoever other than stock options which they will cash out before they crash the whole thing to the ground.  The office drone who sits around surfing the net most of they day is generally much more deserving of their pay than they average CEO.

legal eagle's picture

Good grief Charlie Brown, does anyone think this will reduce banker's pay?   Yahoo, look for 20% increases in salaries next month.  Look for better pension plans.  Look for other ways to indirectly compensate.  

thisandthat's picture

Exactly what I was going to say - you nailed it right in the head, amigo: socialist scumbags, that's what they are!

And what's with that referendum thing (does anyone even know what the f*ck that is?) - can't they just have elections and just be done with it, like true democracies™ do? Isn't that what governments exist for, after all - decide what's better for you, so that you don't need to bother with those decisions things?

Pfff... losers - all of them - they'll never gonna be anything in life, I'm telling you!

zhandax's picture

like true democracies

Do you know what a 'true democracy' looks like?  A sheep and two wolves voting on what to have for dinner.  The US is allegedly a Republic, dipshit.

thisandthat's picture


blah blah I can't read. I'm genius.


Shove it.


Buckaroo Banzai's picture

United Healthcare: well, now I know what my insurance premiums are getting me.

Smegley Wanxalot's picture

And you don't switch to another provider ... why?

GMadScientist's picture

He lives in a state where the only healthcare provider is UHC.

GMadScientist's picture

A bit difficult when one needs medical care, don'tcha think?


Smegley Wanxalot's picture

So, you know Buckaroo's state of residence, the offerings of medical insurances there, and that he is sick on his deathbed.  Tell me GMad, is your head also deeply embedded up Buckaroo's ass, or just up your own?

GMadScientist's picture

Lets just say that you're very aptly named and leave it at that.

JustObserving's picture

How are executives going to say "I make more money than you?"  Jamie Dimon would lose his best line if he worked in Europe.

GMadScientist's picture

By having 15 "jobs" at the max compensation level.

zhandax's picture

Not as outlandish as you may think.  What do you want to bet this pushes up board of director's compensation in Switzerland?  It is not uncommon for one person to sit on multiple boards.

Ghordius's picture

and who knows, mayby we lose the kind of banker like Jamie Dimon in europe

a lot is hanging on what the British FinMin is going to get as special exception for the UK

AssFire's picture

Note: Fannie and Freddy's debt is not kept on the books and is not included in the $16T national debt.

I'm guessing they own a lot of gutted houses at this point.

JustObserving's picture

$123 trillion in unfunded liabilities is not kept on the books either.  If you are a business or local or state government in USA, you are required by law to keep your liabilities on your books.  But no such rules apply to the Federal government.

Global Hunter's picture

as if making it legal for the "representatives" of the people to insider trade all day long wasn't bad  enough!

schatzi's picture REAL democracy in action.

BurningFuld's picture

Man are people stupid. All they have to do is mark bank assets to what they are really worth and this whole shit show ends.

GMadScientist's picture

And an entirely different shitshow begins. That's the problem with these can't take them out without blowing up your own building.

GMadScientist's picture

The system breaks man, child, and women into figures
2 columns for "who is" and "who ain't" niggas
Numbers are hard and real and they never have feelings
But you push too hard, even numbers have limits
Why did one straw break the camel's back?
Here's the secret: The million other straws underneath it

Smegley Wanxalot's picture

Remind me again why I should give a fuck about what others earn?

My only interest is what I earn.

GMadScientist's picture

It's more about worrying what the average person is not least if you want economic growth.

Smegley Wanxalot's picture

As I said - my interest is what I earn.


Perhaps your beloved average person should give a fuck about his/her own income AND DO SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE ABOUT IT if they dont like what they are getting. In my experience, bitching about your boss's pay doesn't do a whole lot to increase your own income, but getting off your fat ass, innovating, exploring alternative avenues to generate income/wealth, and just being generally self-responsible and not a fucking moron does a whole lot.  But you please go ahead and defend the victim mentality like a whiny prick.

GMadScientist's picture

You keep sucking on that pipedream like a good little sycophant.

U4 eee aaa's picture

Do you want to tell him or should I that it is an exhaust pipe

GMadScientist's picture

Ssshhh....he's almost unconscious.

That may be why he's completely focused on the "how much" and paying little to no attention to "how" those massive CEO salaries and bonuses are made.

Global Hunter's picture

Unless you're in the extreme minority, the money printing that has decreased the value of your earnings is going in part to a few connected CEO's and board members bonuses.  This can only happen in a centrally planned economy, in a free market economy this small minority of bandits that are making 8 figure bonuses would be dependent on the charity of others to eat.

holgerdanske's picture

Because their earnings are your costs. I wouldn't care if I could just tell them to go forth and multiply, society forces you to participate and to pay them. You must have insurance, you must have a bank account, you have to belong to a medical society and, depending on where you live, sanitation, power and water might well be mandatory.


That's why!

U4 eee aaa's picture

Because they can afford to buy ten cars and there are only 5 on the lot


go ahead....compete

Blankenstein's picture

I care when it is someone like the Tan Man (Mozillo - Countrywide) who got a slap on the wrist after his company had a large part in creating the housing bubble and subsequent crisis.  And the gooberment was completely involved via the "Friends of Angelo" program (Chris Dodd) and the likes of Henry Cisneros on the board of Countrywide.  Now the taxpayer is still bailing out the mess created by these thugs and they are living large.

Global Hunter's picture

(One of) The problem with a centrally planned socialist/fascist economy that rewards its most useful idiots with large amounts of fiat paper is that it gives the thugs, psychopaths and pedophiles a clear path to the top.  Normal human beings on the other hand when having to live a life of lies and corruption get heavy shoulders and hearts making them less useful to the centrally planned economy.

Arbysauce's picture

Whoah, don't smear all pedophiles just because a few of them are politicians.