the best

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Due to the financial crisis and maybe since he was part of the consulting team of the new financial market stabilization law the CEO of Deutsche Bank Josef Ackermann waived his bonuses and additional payouts (where one has to say that his rest annual salary is probably still bigger than what I earned in all my life…:)).

Anyways he got a lot of media attention due to this and I guess this was intended.

Nevertheless one is left to hope that other bankers will follow suit and donate their excessive salaries into this fund of 30 billion dollars (This amount of money by the way is in the same order of what the new german law accepted as “security reserve”).

These are not the necessary structural changes in the financial system, which are in principle possible, even on a technical level (see e.g. here) but still – it would be a sign.

In an interview Josef Ackermann was asked (translation (tr) without guarantee):

Bams: Arbeiten die Besten für 500 000 Euro?
(tr:Do the best work for 500 000 Euro?)

JOSEF ACKERMANN: Nein. Die Besten bekommen Sie dafür nicht.
(tr:No the best you won’t get for this money)

and later on:

BamS: Sie selbst haben Ihren Bankern 25 Prozent Rendite vorgegeben. Seither gilt diese Zahl als Maßzahl für Gier.
(tr: You yourself had allowed your bankers 25 percent return. Since then this number is a measure for greed.)

JOSEF ACKERMANN: Ist es Gier, wenn man möglichst erfolgreich sein will? Das will doch jeder im Leben. Davon lebt unser System. Auch der Wettbewerb um höhere Renditen hat die Menschheit weitergebracht. Diesen Wettbewerb sollten wir auf keinen Fall aufgeben. Die 25 Prozent vor Steuern habe ich mir ja nicht einfach ausgedacht, das ist die Rendite, die die besten Banken der Welt erzielen. Und die Deutsche Bank hat den Anspruch, bei den Besten der Welt dabei zu sein.

(tr: Is it greed if one wants to be successful in life? Everybody wants to be this in life. This is how our system works. Also the competition for higher returns had helped on mankind. Under no circumstances this competition should be given up. I didn’t just come up with this 25 percent before taxes, this is the return the best banks in the world achieve. And the Deutsche Bank has the standard to belong to the best in the world.)

If I understand correctly this means that it’s not the challenge like to save endangered banks, but its the money which makes bankers go. A bit wimpy, no?

It is also interesting what bankers value as “successful”.

In particular I have also some skepticism about “Also the competition for higher returns had helped on mankind”….e.g. by looking at this crisis…

11 Responses to “the best”

  1. Dietrich Y. Meisel Says:

    Everybody can make mistakes and Mr. Ackermann explicitly said so, see for example the
    link: http://www.spiegel.de/wirtschaft/0,1518,598788,00.html

    May be you should admit that you yourself would like to have his money!

    Everybody earns this what he/she deserves!

  2. Eve Says:

    Hi Nad! You seem to be interested in economy, what do you think about bad banks?

  3. nad Says:

    @Mr. Meisel

    After Josef Ackermanns answer to the question “Do the best work for 500 000 Euro?” (see above) I actually couldn’t resist to quickly sum up all my sofar earnings:

    At the beginning of my studies I had the luck to live the first 3 years with my grandmother, who also gave me a little pocket money. After she died I had my bachelor and financed my study with student jobs. After the diploma in physics my income was big enough to even partially support the studies of my sister. The studies took a lot longer though due to this fact (It took me 14 instead of 12 semesters for the physics diploma (the delay is however also partially due to my stay in the US) and 6 instead of 5 years for the math Ph.D.).

    BUT – thanks to a low tuition in Germany (which is unfortunately not anymore the case) – I had the opportunity to study WITHOUT MAKING DEBTS or without being in the need for additional funding!

    I received my diploma 18 years ago. Of these 18 years I worked 14. So including pre-Diploma jobs I worked about 18 years in my life. All my income taken together from these 18 years is roughly in the range of 500 000 Euro, which is sort of an average wage here in Germany. So on average this sounds good (My pension will be currently roughly 400 Euro/month which is not so good, but thats another topic), however there were times where living was not so easy.

    In particular I KNOW that it is defintiely NOT fine to live on 5 Euro Jobs and I imagine it worse to live on the road and/or to starve.

    It certainly sounds like more fun to run around in Gaultier costumes or to go to five star restaurants (I hadnt been to a “star restaurant” in my entire life, and I’ve never worn such a costume so this assumption might be wrong…:).). On the other hand I could definitely not stand the thought that others are starving, while I am hightailing around in my private jet. Everybody has the right for a decent way of living and as long this is not guaranteed I would prefer to be rather humble when it comes to luxury.

    And even worse – this is now again meant with respect to financial speculation in general and what the financial world/bankers consider to be sucessful (in particular this is no reference to Mr. Ackermann): the thought that people could be starving due to my immediate actions as a financial speculator would put quite an – for me – unresolvable burden onto my soul. It is such a guilt.

  4. H. Brock Says:

    With your salary you could may be live decently in your town, but you cant do much more. But people want to travel for example.

  5. nad Says:

    H. Brock Said:

    “With your salary you could may be live decently in your town, but you cant do much more. But people want to travel for example.”

    OK with such a salary you can’t do a lot of air trips, those are costly. But if you have enough time left and health you could e.g. cycle to Asia.

    When I was independend it was easier – but still – despite all difficulties I’ve usually tried to save some money or other posiibilities for staying in contact with friends in other countries. Nothing against germans but it is nice to have friends also somewhere else.

  6. Bibi Says:

    You should have cited this part of the above Bild am Sonntag interview:

    Bams: Was bedeutet Ihnen Geld?
    (What does money mean to you?)

    JOSEF ACKERMANN: Vor allem Unabhängigkeit! Ich kann den Weg gehen, den ich für richtig halte, ohne mich um meine Zukunft sorgen zu müssen.
    (JOSEF ACKERMANN: Above all Independence. I can walk the way, which I think is the right way, without the need to have sorrows about my future)

    That is most Bankers aren’t money savvy but get happy if they get maximal independence and maximal choice, isn’t that what everybody wants? This is freedom!

  7. Bibi Says:

    Hey Nad what’s up? No blogpost, no answers to comments? May this be, because I wrote something unpleasant, which you don’t want to hear?

    You wrote:
    “So on average this sounds good (My pension will be currently roughly 400 Euro/month which is not so good, but thats another topic), however there were times where living was not so easy. ”

    I made already earlier some suggestions about your work situation. I think if one really wants to find employment then one can always find one. One has to be a little flexible though. It is easy to blame the others for one’s own failures. Mr. Ackermann worked hard and he deserves not to need to have sorrows about his future.

  8. Victor Says:

    Bibi wrote:

    “That is most Bankers aren’t money savvy but get happy if they get maximal independence and maximal choice, isn’t that what everybody wants? This is freedom!”

    I agree with Bibi. People like Mr. Ackermann should get all possibilities and in particular promote their knowledge and their way of handling things.

  9. Bea Sumpfwiese Says:

    @Bibi

    Regarding your citation:

    JOSEF ACKERMANN: Vor allem Unabhängigkeit! Ich kann den Weg gehen, den ich für richtig halte, ohne mich um meine Zukunft sorgen zu müssen.
    (JOSEF ACKERMANN: Above all Independence. I can walk the way, which I think is the right way, without the need to have sorrows about my future)

    This is truly inspiring. There should be a possibility science, optimally combined with meander studies.

  10. nad Says:

    Bibi wrote:

    I made already earlier some suggestions about your work situation. I think if one really wants to find employment then one can always find one. One has to be a little flexible though.

    Bibi thanks for your concern. I noticed that you kept making suggestions about my employment situation. Sorry for the retarded answer to those comments. I can’t answer all comments. I currently have a job. I agree that a little flexibility helps, the question here is of course what means “little”. That is there are limits, like to abilities.

    It is easy to blame the others for one’s own failures. Mr. Ackermann worked hard and he deserves not to need to have sorrows about his future.

    I didn’t make any comments wether Mr. Ackermann does deserve or does not deserve to have sorrows about his future and I didn’t “blame anyone for my failures”, where I am not really sure what you mean by that. I critized food speculations (where I explicitly said that this comment has no reference to Mr. Ackermann), but I understand that the situation is not always black or white that is not all speculators are aware of their speculations (that has amongst others partially to do with a wrong or missing or impartial feedback) and some may have a conflict of interest etc., I wrote:

    By the way this also puts employees at the corresponding financial companies under quite a bit of stress due to the involved moral conflict.

  11. Dr. rer. soc. Edeltraut Park-Sung Says:

    I critized food speculations….but I understand that the situation is not always black or white that is not all speculators are aware of their speculations (that has amongst others partially to do with a wrong or missing or impartial feedback) and some may have a conflict of interest etc.,

    This may sound now cruel, but you yourself keep warning about food shortages and missing feedbacks so I would like to ask you:
    Couldn’t it be the case that all those sofar occuring relatively small food crisis’ (even if they may eventually be due to financial speculations) may have also a positive effect? That is that they show the world that having enough food is not a self-understood feature?

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