‘Tone it down’, says China to the flashy financial elite

Forget about dressing for the job you want, if you’re a finance professional in China, you don’t even get to dress for the job you already have. 

Forget about dressing for the job you want, if you’re a finance professional in China, you don’t even get to dress for the job you already have. 

Employees at some Chinese financial firms, both state-owned and private, have been asked to dial down the dressing, park the fast cars and curb the expensive hotel bookings as the country attempts to tackle corruption in its US$57 trillion financial sector.

Being among the country’s highest paid, finance professionals have copped public criticism on social media for flaunting their flashy lives while the majority of the nation deals with the impacts of inflation and a slowing economy.

In May this year, China’s economy, the world’s second-largest, hit a speed bump ornate with missed forecasts in industrial output and retail sales.

The orders came as part of an austerity drive devised by Beijing to bridge the wealth gap, after the Government vowed earlier this year to herd the country away from the Westernised ‘financial elite’ lifestyle and towards President Xi Jinping’s idea of common prosperity.

China’s Communist Party announced in March this year that it will be setting up a financial watchdog, the Central Financial Commission, to keep the sector in line and give the Government more control over financial matters.

Not waiting to find out which is worse, the bark or the bite, a large state-owned mutual fund and a mid-sized bank instructed their staff to refrain from showing off their wealth and demonstrate outward modesty both on social media and at the workplace.

Requesting to be unnamed, the staff also admitted to being told not to wave their company credit card around at five-star hotels when travelling for work.

Attempting to nip the excessive spending at the source, two investment banking firms have enforced cuts to base salary and yearly bonuses to the tune of 15% for the former and 30-50% for the latter.

It is yet to be seen how these measures will pan out for the Communist nation and the ‘high level’ of inequality it has been fostering. As far as its ruling party is concerned, one thing has been made clear – the buck stops here.

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

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