Tuesday 7 June 2011

Barclays Protium: Banksters@Work

The Barclays Protium story is utterly reprehensible: a major financial institution held to ransom by a handful of employees threatening to bugger off with the keys to the toxic waste cupboard unless paid an outrageous sum. "All that's wrong in the City", indeed.

One might say that such things happen on a smaller scale quite often, in many walks of life: but being merely egregious by its scale doesn't make it any the less shocking: a dramatic proof that people - be they bankers, trade unions or parliamentarians - will behave atrociously if not regulated properly.

But now a thing of the past ? No, rather a microcosm of how banks are playing their political and regulatory masters as a whole - see this story on their attempts to thwart Basel III.

This isn't really news, of course. But it's worth thinking through how one would conduct affairs at the corporate level to prevent a re-run of Protium - and then thinking how the same principles might be brought to bear at the macro level. We know about too big to fail. Are we to accept too big to be regulated ? Because if we are, let's not imagine this weakness will not be exploited ruthlessly.

A capitalist writes ... no rules, no game. And it's a good game - worth enforcing the rules for.



Old BE said...

Sounds like a classic case of poor governance. How did Barclays get into such a position?

Nick Drew said...

because they are presided over by a financial genius ?

Old BE said...

The Ryan Giggs of the City!

James Higham said...

a dramatic proof that people - be they bankers, trade unions or parliamentarians - will behave atrociously if not regulated properly

Yes and regulated by what? A set of appointees, a government committee, a charity or a code of ethics?

Mr Ecks said...

Bankers=crooks ok

But Politicians+Bureaucrats=mass-murdering crooks--very not ok.

Scum regulated by worse scum?

Let banking be unregulated and free from state interference and govt(taxpayer) "support". If they bungle, the bank collapses not the "system. If they cheat the bank may collapse but there will be lots of victims looking for revenge.

Steven_L said...

"Yes and regulated by what?"

Just the Theft Act 1968 and the Fraud Act 2006 would be a good start.

Budgie said...

Over 50% of MPs in the last parliament had to pay back "over claims". Very few have been prosecuted. With 'regulators' like that no wonder we have corruption elsewhere.

Whether it is leftwing apparatchiks and quangocrats or rightwing 'bankers' (ie bank directors), they all seem to get away with vast amounts of dosh whilst fiddling the system and refusing to accept responsibility. Only the little people get hammered.

Demetrius said...

One's former liberal ideas are being replaced by some old fashioned ones. A hundred lashes at the wheel for starters.

Steven_L said...

Not enough people understand what 'fraud' is either, I feel an explanatory post coming on tonight!