Workers in London's Canary Wharf, home to many global banks, slammed EU plans to cap bankers' bonuses, following agreement in Brussels on Thursday to introduce what would be the world's strictest pay curbs.
The provisional agreement means bankers face an automatic bonus cap set at a par with their salaries. That could only be raised to twice their pay packet if the majority of the bank's shareholders voted in favour.
Some said without the lure of uncapped bonuses traders would not have the motivation to take calculated risks to make money for their customers. One banker said it's unfair to single out the finance industry.
"Sports stars they make a lot of money don't they? And there is no limit on what they can make, so I'm not sure you want to cap bankers' bonuses," he said.
The bonus ceiling will apply to all banks - American, Asian, Russian or European - based in Europe, and to units of European banks located abroad, so a Deutsche Bank employee working in New York or Tokyo would be subject to the same limits.
Equally, a Goldman Sachs banker in London, Frankfurt or anywhere else in the European Union would be covered.
Some bankers conceded that the cap would be popular with the general public, but that the new move would be counter-productive.
"One of the reactions could be that banks just raise the fixed salaries, which is increasing the costs, which is adding more risks to the system, which is what we are trying to prevent in the first place," said one banker.
The limit on bankers' pay, which is set to enter EU law as part of a wider overhaul of capital rules aimed at making banks more stable, will be popular on the European continent struggling to emerge from the ruins of the 2008 financial crisis.
But it represents a setback for the British government, which had long argued against such absolute limits.
The City of London, the region's financial capital with 144,000 banking staff and many more in related jobs, will be hit hardest.
The backing of a majority of EU states is needed for the deal to be finalised, so Britain would not be able to block it alone.
Presented by Adam Justice