Monday 5 December 2011

RBS: Still Shocking After All These Years

Now here's a thing. Jeff Skilling (Enron) is doing 24 years, with a $45 million fine, for the crime of making misleading statements about the company's activities and financial well-being.

And did you watch the Beeb programme on RBS tonight ? (if not, it's worth it - unless you lost a packet on the bastards and you value your TV screen.)
We've known it all for years, of course, but the culpable stupidity is still quite a shocker.
The film relies heavily on actual recordings of shareholder meetings, analyst calls etc, so we can all form our own views. Just how many of those softly-spoken senior Scottish banking types made misleading statements that you heard ? On sub-prime, ABN-Amro ... right up until the crash, and then some - condemned out of their own mouths.

Just sayin' ...



James Higham said...

Watch confidence crash or hope not to get caught - the eternal dilemma.

Anonymous said...

Can we have some prosecutions, soon please?

dearieme said...

If it were also possible to jail Brown and the head of the FSA, then it would be very heaven.

(Blair, of course, needs hanging.)

Sebastian Weetabix said...

You can't go jailing chaps just because they made a few incautious unguarded comments to the shareholders. Some of them were at school with Bunty you know, and the rest of them play golf with Farquhar. They're all jolly decent and they're friends with all the right people.

The way you chaps are talking you'd think they'd committed an actual crime, like some oik Cockney car dealer fiddling with the odometer. Good Lord - this isn't America, don't you know.

Anonymous said...

Just want to know how it is that Bill Black prosecuted and jailed 10,000 during his investigation of the S&L crisis in the '90s, yet so far in this present crisis which is orders of magnitude worse, nobody seems has been prosecuted?

Anonymous said...

Sorry to be vulgar Nick but could say the old saying was correct "Shits promote shits" its way the system works "are they one of us" and so the rot starts and continues until it blows up in their faces. The small shareholder has very little real power, institutional shareholders hold all the cards and carry majority votes and they are in with directors or even cross diectorships.

trust deed scotland said...

The RBS have been terrible for many years in some people's opinion!

Look at the HSBC story and the fine for fleecing older people with an investment scam - which uk bank will be next I wonder?!

Budgie said...

Like Major could not sack Lamont after the ERM troubles, Brown could not blame "the bankers" after 2008 because it would have implicated himself.

It is noteworthy that Labour only started volubly blaming "the bankers" after the election. Before that "it started in America" was the order of the day.

Anonymous said...

"it started in America" was the order of the day."

And true, though.

Bad money drives out good.

formertory said...

Fred Goodwin's "blink" rate was worth watching during some of those announcements and answers.

And why would anyone trust a middle-aged man called "Johnnie"? (Sorry to any throughly trustworthy types called "Johnnie").

idle said...

S Weetabix has it all wrong. Goodwin and his ilk were not old school in any way. I doubt they have ever had mates called Bunty and Smelly and Bingo. They are, to a man, lowland scot mercantile and professional class. You could make a case for Johnny Cameron being a proper chap, but after all those years rubbing shoulders with the Jock banking mafia, I dare say he was wearing polyester RBS logo ties and couldn't tell a partridge from a woodcock.

All the proper scots bankers went to HSBC (abroad), Panmure Gordon or Cazenove. I suspect they were highlanders.

This is not snobbery but fact.

pip pip

David Morris said...


Whilst not in the least defending Goodwin, isn't it true that at any time from 2005 onwards he could have defended
the RBS involvement in subprime by stating that all such investments by them were considered & rated AAA by the credit agencies ?

Bastards all

Kind regards

Anonymous said...

The current govt. may still need to grub for votes and banging-up banksters looks a sure-fire winner.

Nick Drew said...

well, chaps, we are ad idem on this one

bring on the tumbrils

Mr Morris - welcome: I would say that a rating agency's blessing was a conventional but rather small fig-leaf, and that the RBS middle office guys would have been able to form a realistic assessment of their own - I have rarely meet a professional risk manager who doesn't privately have a pretty good grip on the real risks

whether or not they are encouraged or permitted to speak their minds (and in the RBS case we heard explicitly that they were not) is quite another matter

PLUS we also heard the bastards declaring they stayed out of this stuff altogether - later modified to 'an infinitesimal amount' (with finger-gestures to match) as I recall

(hence my remark about misleading statements)

... or was it 'miniscule' ?

you have to laugh in disbelief when you hear Goodwin saying he had absolutely no intention of conducting full due-diligence on ABN-Amro

canny scots, my arse

Sebastian Weetabix said...

Idle - I just realised I'm even lower class than I thought. "They are, to a man, lowland scot mercantile and professional class" - where I come from (Dumbarton) that passes for extremely posh.

The first time I personally met one of those drawlin' hielan' lairds who sounds like a displaced Englishman was at University. He was very offended when I asked him why he'd chosen to come up to Scotland. (Back then to be a success you got out, you see, so people arriving of their own free will was a curiosity to be wondered at.)

How was I to know? Looked like a Sassenach, talked like a Sassenach, but apparently he went back to Robert the Bruce.

Budgie said...

"he went back to Robert the Bruce"

Was that on the Viking side or the Irish side?

idle said...

S Weetabix - I must own up to being one of those English-sounding highlanders, from upper donside (but now in Southern England). I can understand Buchan but don't try to speak it except among friends.

I would say that the 'English' accent you refer to is actually a British upper/officer class accent, drilled into a fellow by parents, nannies, public schools and peer group. It sounds the same whether the man was brought up in Caithness or Truro.

I'm worried, though, about this 'looked like a Sassenach' thing - give me some hints here, as I may be dressing like a Sassenach or effecting a Sassenach pose without knowing.

Yrs aye

Sebastian Weetabix said...

Robert the Bruce was more French, I think. We're all from somewhere, but screwing the peasantry in the same spot for several centuries apparently confers respectability.

My mob are Glasgow Irish if I go back far enough. In the eyes of some Paisleyites (I don't mean the grammar school) that means I should p*ss off back to where I "came from"

Sebastian Weetabix said...

Corduroy trews, Idle, combined with a Rupert the Bear jumper, barbour jacket and brogues. You know the sort of get-up; normal for Norfolk. Very abnormal on Sauchiehall Street on friday night.

Anonymous said...

Aye, Robert de Brus was indeed French...