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G20 Closer to Limits on Bank Risk, Pay


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Leaders from the world's leading and developing economies are moving closer to an agreement on one of the most contentious issues to come out of the global financial crisis.

Officials at the Group of 20 summit in the eastern U.S. city of Pittsburgh say leaders are working out the final details of a deal to limit risk-taking by large banks and control pay for their executives.

Some economists and officials blame banks for plunging the global economy into a deep recession, while some countries, including France and Germany, have expressed outrage at the large bonuses paid to the top executives at failed financial firms.

G20 officials say the deal will require banks to hold more cash in reserve in case their investments go bad. It will also require that salaries for top executives be tied to the bank's performance while allowing some pay to be confiscated if banks lose money.

The officials say the final agreement will not impose a hard cap on executive compensation. U.S. officials have said such a requirement would be a deal-breaker.

G20 countries have also differed on the precise focus of this summit, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel pushing for the focus to remain on overhauling the way the world regulates the financial markets.

But U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Thursday that there was "strong consensus" on the need to rebalance global trade.

Geithner has said countries will not be able to successfully recover from the recession if they focus on selling goods to other countries, rather than on growing their domestic economies.

On Thursday the White House said the G20 will become the world's dominant global economic forum.

The Group of Eight major industrialized nations had been considered the world's leading economic group. The White House says the decision to focus more on the G-20 brings to the table the countries needed to build a stronger, more balanced global economy.

The G20 includes members of the G8, along with 11 major emerging economies and the European Union.

As the summit leaders were gathering Thursday, riot police fired teargas and pepper spray and set off high-pitched sirens to break up what they say was an unauthorized protest against the economic summit.

G20 members are the United States, Brazil, China, Indonesia, Mexico, France, Germany, the European Union, Argentina, Australia, Britain, Canada, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, and Turkey.


Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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