It looks like a mole at RBS has been feeding a line to the Times to try get their bonuses back, because the paper carries this story this morning
"More than 1,000 investment bankers have quit Royal Bank of Scotland to join rival firms for guaranteed cash bonuses and big salary increases, according to banking sources.
The staff exodus, which has cut a swathe through the senior ranks of RBS, has been gathering pace since the government first ordered it to clamp down on bonuses this year.
Although they account for less than 5% of staff in RBS’s investment division, the traders and corporate financiers who have been lured away are estimated to have earned it between £600m and £700m last year — almost 8% of its 2008 income."
Well hang on a bit because these numbers don't stack up, because that is £600-700k top line revenue per "investment banker", which would have been the minimum top line revenue to stay in your job as an investment banker 20 years ago - say $1 million, and that would be the benchmark for bankers who don't use the balance sheet (M&A, some corporate finance advisory). Touch the balance sheet and you would have to make far more in fees and spread to justify your seat. Personally I wouldn't be seen dead in a team that kept bankers who performed so poorly.
And the giveaway is that the 5% of staff made 8% of income. Well if you are only making 160% of the average when all the IT, operations, HR, PR, security, audit and management are factored in, then like the Poobah-before-Mandelson said, "They'll none of them be missed".