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London could see “banker exodus” if proposals become law, headhunter claims

Many of London’s top bankers may leave the city if taxes on bonuses continue, a leading City headhunter has claimed.

Robert Walters, chief executive officer at the recruitment company, explained that the 50 per cent tax introduced by the Labour government and the introduction of the bonus tax could force many of the best bankers to work for companies outside of the UK.

Chancellor of the exchequer Alistair Darling outlined the bonus tax in his pre-Budget report in December of 2009.

The 50 per cent tax applies to all banker bonuses over £25,000.

Mr Walters said: “Hordes of people are leaving certain banks. The bonus fiasco is causing a rapid exodus from state banks; people are just fleeing.

"It's great for banking recruitment because we like movement, but I'm not sure it's good for taxpayers and shareholders.”

He added that although many workers in the financial services industry are willing to wait until the UK’s general election, if there is not a change in government then London “will see a whole wall of people disappearing”.

Previously, Stephen Hester, chief executive at the Royal Bank of Scotland, said that workers at the bank had been leaving in their “thousands”.

By Jim Ottewill