Lincoln Book Festival

Lincoln Book Festival
2017 Festival Programme

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Regulation

I am convinced that the single factor most responsible for the banking crisis was loose regulation. Gordon Brown almost admitted it in his interview with the Guardian; his excuse was the the rest of the world was de-regulating and he didn't want London to miss out.

Lord Turner, in his evidence to the Treasury Select Committee, voiced concern that the mood for regulation may be running out of steam. The suggestion of re-introducing the separation of retail banking from its investment counterpart has fallen on deaf ears. Turner is arguing for tougher capital requirements based on size and, presumably risk.

My question is: will regulation based on capital requirements work, when the experience is of massive values evaporating overnight?

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Bad old ways?

The Observer (14 June) offered in its leader a stark warning to the city and those concrned with its governance that it must not be allowed to slip back into its bad old ways. I am probably not the only person who would wish to take issue with the word old; the bad ways were new, the bad ways were post big bang, the bad ways emerged because light touch regulation allowed them to. A most telling comment was that the old (I would say new) way of doing things made some people very rich.'

Vested interests are thus very strong and very powerful. In exactly the same way as it was not in the interests of the city to say the emperor had no clothes, neither is it in their interests to question the substance of what might look like the green shoots of recovery. Anything which shows that the city is working is good news.

The tragedy is that just when strong government is need, we are having to live with a lame duck. It is sadder still that when a change in government does come, the forces which demand a strong performance from the city will both be vocal and may well be basking in a recovery of their own making.