PARIS (Reuters) - Societe Generale Chief Executive Frederic Oudea's bonus rose 75 percent last year to 1.2 million euros ($1.56 million), even as France's No. 2 bank moved to cut costs and sell assets.
The disclosure follows a rise in pay for Jean-Laurent Bonnafe, the head of larger rival BNP Paribas , whose bonus rose more than 40 percent to 1.68 million euros in 2012 - his first full year as CEO of France's biggest listed bank.
It is the latest sign that executive pay at top European banks is on the rise, despite lingering anger from investors and politicians over taxpayer-funded bailouts during the financial crisis.
BNP's net income rose 8.3 percent in 2012 to 6.55 billion euros, while SocGen's fell by two-thirds after it booked losses on operations in Russia and from selling assets.
Both SocGen and BNP have begun fresh cost-cutting plans as the weak euro zone economy threatens retail profits at home and tougher regulations squeeze corporate and investment banking.
French bankers' total pay packages are a pale shadow of the numbers seen abroad at banks such as Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank , however.
BNP's Bonnafe was awarded 2.87 million euros in total pay for 2012 while SocGen's Oudea was awarded 2.2 million, up around one-third year-on-year in both cases.
Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank's co-CEOs each earned 4.9 million euros for 2012, while Credit Suisse CEO Brady Dougan was awarded 7.77 million Swiss francs ($8.12 million).
($1 = 0.7709 euros)
($1 = 0.9573 Swiss francs)
(Reporting by Lionel Laurent; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)
ROME (AP) — The latest weapon in the U.N.'s fight against hunger, global warming and pollution might be flying by you right now.
Edible insects are being promoted as a low-fat, high-protein food for people, pets and livestock. According to the U.N., they come with appetizing side benefits: Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and livestock pollution, creating jobs in developing countries and feeding the millions of hungry people in the world.
Some edible insect information in bite-sized form:
WHO EATS INSECTS NOW?
Two billion people do, largely in Asia, Africa and Latin America, the Rome-based U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said Monday as it issued a report exploring edible insect potential.
Some insects may already be in your food (and this is no fly-in-my-soup joke). Demand for natural food coloring as opposed to artificial dyes is increasing, the agency's experts say. A red coloring produced from the cochineal, a scaled insect often exported from Peru, already puts the hue in a trendy Italian aperitif and an internationally popular brand of strawberry yogurt. Many pharmaceutical companies also use colorings from insects in their pills.
PACKED WITH PROTEIN, FULL OF FIBER
Scientists who have studied the nutritional value of edible insects have found that red ants, small grasshoppers and some water beetles pack (gram-per-gram or ounce-per-ounce) enough protein to rank with lean ground beef while having less fat per gram.
Bored with bran as a source of fiber in your diet? Edible insects can oblige, and they also contain useful minerals such as iron, magnesium, phosphorous, selenium and zinc.
WHICH TO CHOOSE?
Beetles and caterpillars are the most common meals among the more than 1,900 edible insect species that people eat. Other popular insect foods are bees, wasps, ants, grasshoppers, locusts and crickets. Less popular are termites and flies, according to U.N. data.
Insects on average can convert 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) of feed into 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of edible meat. In comparison, cattle require 8 kilograms (17.6 pounds) of feed to produce a kilogram of meat. Most insects raised for food are likely to produce fewer environmentally harmful greenhouse gases than livestock, the U.N. agency says.
DON'T SWAT THE INCOME
Edible insects are a money-maker. In Africa, four big water bottles filled with grasshoppers can fetch a gatherer 15 euros ($20). Some caterpillars in southern Africa and weaver ant eggs in Southeast Asia are considered delicacies and command high prices.
Insect-farms tend to be small, serving niche markets like fish bait businesses. But since insects thrive across a wide range of locations — from deserts to mountains — and are highly adaptable, experts see big potential for the insect farming industry, especially those farming insects for animal feed. Most edible insects are now gathered in forests.
LET A BUG DO YOUR RECYLING
A 3 million euro ($4 million) European Union-funded research project is studying the common housefly to see if a lot of flies can help recycle animal waste by essentially eating it while helping to produce feed for animals such as chickens. Right now farmers can only use so much manure as fertilizer and many often pay handsome sums for someone to cart away animal waste and burn it.
A South African fly factory that rears the insects en masse to transform blood, guts, manure and discarded food into animal feed has won a $100,000 U.N.-backed innovation prize.
Details about the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization's work on edible insects at www.fao.org/forestry/edibleinsects
Follow Frances D'Emilio at http://twitter.com./fdemilio
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Matthew Winkler, editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News, apologized on Monday for allowing journalists "limited" access to sensitive data about how clients used Bloomberg terminals, saying it was "inexcusable" but that important customer data had always been protected.
His statement came as the European Central Bank said it was in "close contact with Bloomberg" about any possible breaches in the confidentiality of data usage. The U.S. Federal Reserve said it was examining whether there could have been leaks of confidential information. A source briefed on the situation said the Treasury Department was looking into the question as well.
The practice of giving reporters access to some data considered proprietary - including when a customer looked into broad categories such as equities or bonds - came to light in media reports last week. In response, the parent company, Bloomberg LP, said it had restricted such access last month after Goldman Sachs Group Inc complained.
Winkler, in an editorial posted on Bloomberg.com, said: "Our reporters should not have access to any data considered proprietary. I am sorry they did. The error is inexcusable."
Goldman flagged the matter to Bloomberg after the bank found that journalists had access to more information than it had known and argued the information was sensitive and should not be seen by reporters.
The news triggered fears at Wall Street firms about the privacy of sensitive data, as well as at the Fed and other U.S. government departments that use Bloomberg terminals.
In the editorial, Winkler sought to clarify what exactly Bloomberg journalists could see. He said they had access to a user's login history, as well as "high-level types of user functions on an aggregated basis, with no ability to look into specific security information."
He said the practice dates back to the early days of Bloomberg News in the 1990s, when reporters used the terminal to find out what kind of news coverage customers wanted.
"As data privacy has become a central concern to our clients, we should go above and beyond in protecting data, especially when we have even the appearance of impropriety," Winkler wrote. "And that's why we've made these recent changes to what reporters can access."
Winkler emphasized that "We have never compromised the integrity of that data in our reporting" and said Bloomberg journalists are subject to standards that are among the most stringent in the business.
"At no time did reporters have access to trading, portfolio, monitor, blotter or other related systems," he said. "Nor did they have access to clients' messages to one another. They couldn't see the stories that clients were reading or the securities clients might be looking at."
While the information available to Bloomberg reporters was limited, senior Goldman executives argued that a trader could profit just by knowing what type of securities high-profile users were looking at, or what questions a government official raised with Bloomberg's help desk, people with direct knowledge of their views said.
The issue made people inside the bank uncomfortable with even the Bloomberg marketing and sales team's access to information, the sources said.
In disclosing the new restrictions set last month, Chief Executive Daniel Doctoroff said Bloomberg had created the position of client data compliance officer to ensure that its news operations never have access to confidential customer data.
Closely held Bloomberg, which competes with Thomson Reuters , the parent of Reuters News, gets the bulk of its revenue from terminal sales to financial institutions. The company was founded by Michael Bloomberg, longtime mayor of New York City.
Bloomberg has more than 315,000 terminal subscribers globally, with each Bloomberg terminal costing more than $20,000 a year. Last year it posted revenue of $7.9 billion.
In a statement on Friday, Thomson Reuters said the news division operates "completely independently, with reporters having no access to non-public data on its customers, especially any data relating to its customers use of its products or services."
(Reporting By Frank McGurty; Editing by Ciro Scotti)