So let’s look at the headlines : Hester forgoes bonus – such selflessness , Diamond won’t resign – usually a resignation follows a refusal to quit but as the top man being paid a top salary he must be deluded to cling to power , bankers need a change in ethos says Mervyn King – but it only works if there is a BIG stick and they broke the law so send them to prison. In America these guys would be on a one way ticket to Guantanamo Bay .
The Barclays LIBOR affair shows that no amount of regulation will stop crooked activity . In this case the laws exist so why is the debate heading off on a false trail towards greater regulation ? To stop it requires a likliehood of being caught and imprisoned and paying the money back to those who lost out. There are no excuses for dishonesty . As for a fine – it’s the shareholders who lose out. Now here’s an area where a law could help. If there is a major issue such as this the whole of the bank’s employees in that division must suffer . What better way to enforce collective responsibility ?
This week I met a banker from a niche bank and it was a breath of fresh air to hear him speak about the bank’s conservative old fashioned banking ethos but the icing on the cake was when he said that HE was the decision maker and NOT a faceless credit committee with no idea about their clients’ businesses and background. I hope he’ll want to do business with me.