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G-20 take aim at executive bonuses

  • Story Highlights
  • G-20 finance ministers remain committed to economic recovery plan
  • G-20 agree on need for tougher rules on banking bonuses
  • UK PM Brown: Curbing $5 trillion stimulus plans would be "serious mistake"
  • Brown says G-20 leaders must agree plan of "durable" growth at Pittsburgh summit
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Finance ministers from the G-20 nations meeting in London have reiterated their commitment to coordinated action to tackle the global economic crisis and agreed on the need for tougher rules on banking bonuses.

"Financial markets are stabilizing and the global economy is improving but we do remain cautious about the outlook for growth and jobs," UK finance minister Alistair Darling said Saturday following talks with counterparts and central bank chiefs from the world leading's economies.

Saturday's meeting, attended by U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, precedes a full summit of G-20 leaders in Pittsburgh later this month.

"We agreed that we would continue to implement our necessary support measures... until recovery is secured. We will build on what we have already achieved to tackle the significant challenges that lie ahead."

In a communique issued after the meeting, ministers said they had agreed on the need for "global standards on pay structure" amid calls from some European countries for curbs on banking bonuses, saying that bonus payments should be "aligned with long-term value creation and financial stability."

Earlier, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said there was no room for "economic complacency" despite signs of a nascent global recovery.

Brown, who was the architect of the G-20 London Summit in April when world leaders agreed to a $5 trillion global plan of coordinated action to bolster the world economy, said that cutting back on government stimulus programs would undermine confidence.

Brown said less than half of the proposed $5 trillion had so far been injected into the economy and called on world leaders to agree a plan to ensure "durable" growth when they gather in Pittsburgh on September 24.

"To decide now that it is time to start withdrawing and reversing the exceptional measures we have taken would in my judgment be a serious mistake," Brown said.

"On the contrary, with more than half of the $5 trillion fiscal expansion committed to, yet to be spent, I believe the prudent course is for G-20 countries to deliver the fiscal plans and stimulus packages they have put in place and make sure they are implemented in full both this year and next."

Brown's warning comes with several major economies, including Germany, France and Japan, announcing that they have emerged from recession, prompting optimism that the worst of the most severe financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s may have passed.

Brown said that "far-reaching reform" of both international financial institutions and banks was needed to "to bring them into the 21st century and make them more accountable, more representative and more effective."

In an earlier interview with CNN, Darling -- said there was "a measure of agreement that we do need to take measures to stop excessive risk-taking."

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Darling said systems of bonus payments needed to be more open to scrutiny, adding that possible options included having cash bonuses paid out over longer periods of time or paying bonuses in shares to tie them to the value of a company.

But he said it was important not to stop rewards for hard work and said measures needed to be "global and practical."

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