Find the latest episode of "The Uncertain Hour" here. Listen
Marketplace Scratch Pad

A boring old Christmas

Scott Jagow Dec 18, 2009

And that’s a good thing. Banks are taking it easy on the holiday events this year. Many of them aren’t even remotely touching anything that potentially resembles a party. Others are shelling out a few bucks. The Royal Bank of Scotland will contribute 10 pounds a head ($16) for work parties. Party planners are saying, oh forget it, just go ice skating.

From Bloomberg:

Di Bailey, managing director at Planit Events Ltd., whose clients include HSBC Holdings Plc and Morgan Stanley, recommends employers spend about 80 pounds-a-head to ensure a “decent” party. Bailey said she couldn’t organize an event at a cost of 10 pounds-per-employee and recommended staff use the money to go ice-skating instead.

RBS is making as much as 10 pounds available per employee this year, a person familiar with the situation said. Two pints of Kronenbourg 1664 lager and a packet of salt and pepper- flavored crisps cost 8.21 pounds in the Master Gunner pub in London’s Broadgate district. An hour’s skating at the Tower of London Ice Rink costs 10 pounds an hour off-peak.

Meanwhile, stateside, Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack has decided to forgo his bonus for the third straight year. He’s the first big bank CEO to do so in 2009:

“It’s going to be the trend,” said Jeanne Branthover, head of financial services at New York-based Boyden Global Executive Search. “The top echelon is going to either forgo bonuses or take them in a non-cash way, deferring them. That is going to be very much the standard for this year because of everything that happened.”

Yeah, even the president won’t be getting a bonus, apparently:

Tom Toles, Washington Post

News and information you need, from a source you trust.

In a world where it’s easier to find disinformation than real information, trustworthy journalism is critical to our democracy and our everyday lives. And you rely on Marketplace to be that objective, credible source, each and every day.

This vital work isn’t possible without you. Marketplace is sustained by our community of Investors—listeners, readers, and donors like you who believe that a free press is essential – and worth supporting.

Stand up for independent news—become a Marketplace Investor today with a donation in any amount.