Bonus Blues For Europe's Bank Chiefs (Forbes)

LONDON - Europe's bank bosses are coming under pressure to forgo their bonuses, now that the heads of UBS and Deutsche Bank have said they'll skip theirs in light of their companies' dismal performance.

Peter Kurer, the chairman of UBS, told Swiss television on Thursday that he did not expect to get a bonus this year, a spokesman for the bank told Deutsche Bank Chief Executive Josef Ackerman and the German bank's entire executive board are also planning to forgo their bonuses, according to a spokesman. In a pre-released interview with Germany's Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag, Ackermann said he was taking the step to show solidarity with more "deserving" colleagues.

Both banks have suffered heavily amidst the subprime crisis, with UBS having to seek government capital, after taking more than $40.0 billion in write-downs since the start of the year. Deutsche Bank has faced stiff criticism for its attempt to offset the troubles in its securities division by buying into Deutsche Post's retail bank. Shares in Deutsche Bank and UBS have fallen 60.7%, and 61.2% since the start of the year, against a Dow Jones Eurostoxx banking sector index drop of 52.1%.

Pressure is now piling on senior management at banks across the globe, as the tally of executives not receiving their bonuses continues to rise. Last year UBS's former chairman Marcel Ospel's pay package fell more than 90.0% after the bank's compensation committee decided to withhold all his performance-related pay. John Mack of Morgan Stanley and James Cayne, the former head of Bear Sterns, forsook their bonuses too.

Germany's economy minister, Michael Glos, urged other banks to follow Deutsche Bank's example. "My appeal is to all those in government and business with the power to take decisions: you carry responsibility for the people, just like us parliamentarians, and not just responsibility for your own bank accounts," he told the lower house of parliament ahead of a vote on a $673.5 billion rescue package for German banks.

European governments are preparing to tighten regulations on banks that access a series of rescue packages worth $2.3 trillion, including curbs on executive pay. Deutsche Bank has so far said it isn't planning to access the German government's bailout package, according to Der Spiegel newspaper. (See "Its Raining Bailouts In Europe.")

Thomson Financial contributed to this report.