Saturday, 18 July 2009

Walker Report: 15 Years Behind the Times

Quite a month for fat - and fatuous - official documents. Brown's own Reforming the Financial Markets; Milband's Energy / Climate Strategy; and limping in third, the Walker Report on governance in banks.

For limp it is - not an item of substance that couldn't have been written 15 years ago, I have the Governance Best Practices textbooks to prove it.

Our leftie chum Tom P has posted several snippets at Labour & Capital: time here just for a quick comment on the Risk section. Walker gets off to a flying start with:

"financial risks are the principal risks of any BOFI business"

Well yes - particularly as he seems to consider it a given that investment banking and spec trading will continue to be integrated with retail banking and deposit-taking. But then he lets the Non-Execs off the hook:

"The NEDs on the [Risk] committee cannot be expected to be able to replicate the industry expertise of the executive team ... commonsense should be expected from the NEDs"

If commonsense is all we ask of NEDs on the Risk committee, they'll be bamboozled every time
. And that's even after a backbone transplant...

If this is the best Walker can come up with, there really will be little to prevent a re-run of the last disaster in a few years time.


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