Frank wants broad limits on exec. pay for all firms

Congress should take up an effort to set limits on executive compensation not just for financial companies, but for all publicly held companies, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said Thursday.

Frank said that there should be limits on compensation "not in terms of dollars but in terms of rules," arguing that the current compensation structure enjoyed by financial executives incentivized risk-taking that led to the current crisis.

"Remember, we're not talking about purely private companies -- people forget this -- we're talking about public corporations," Frank said in an interview with Bloomberg News. "When you become a public corporation, you're availing yourselves of a framework of law that gives you limited liability, protects you in various ways."

Frank expressed a preference that Congress institute a mandate for federal regulators to take a more aggressive tack against companies. He also said he'd like to see the regulations extend beyond companies in the financial sector.

Frank did not address specifics of a compensation package, but seemed to indicate that legislation would open the door to federal regulators playing a role in bonus structuring. He specifically rejected caps on salary, but called also for more constraints on the amount of money firms are allowed to leverage in investments.

"This is not a situation where these poor, private individuals are going about their business and being interfered with," Frank said.