LONDON (Reuters) - Billionaire investor George Soros said U.S. taxpayers were entitled to resent bankers’ bonuses because their profits were funded by government bailouts, according to an interview published in the Financial Times.
“Those earnings are not the achievement of risk-takers. These are gifts, hidden gifts, from the government, so I don’t think that those monies should be used to pay bonuses,” the paper quoted him as saying in its Saturday edition. “There’s a resentment which I think is justified.”
The U.S. government committed hundreds of billions of dollars to bailing out financial firms, some of which have since reported surging profits.
Soros said there was a need to regulate payments to employees, even if that meant banks found it difficult to retain talented risk-takers.
“That would push the risk-takers who are good at taking risks out of Goldman Sachs into hedge funds, where they actually belong, because hedge funds take risks with their own capital, not with deposits and not with government guarantees.”
Soros also said he believed the decline of the U.S. dollar would be limited by its tie to the Chinese currency. “As long as the renminbi is tied to the dollar, I don’t see how the decline in the dollar can go too far,” he said.
“There is a general lack of confidence in currencies and a move away from currencies into real assets ... There is a push in gold, there’s a strength in oil and that is a flight from currencies.”
Soros said the rally in the U.S. stock market would continue for the rest of the year, but warned that “the hope of a rapid recovery in the U.S. is misplaced.”
London World Desk