Feb 07

Bankers Bail Out

Last year was a haze of activity and small victories.  If you think about it, what with global warming, Bird flu, Aids, Everton, Flash floods and airplane engines that fall off, to name but a few, it is a small victory for all of us to simply survive from one year to the next.

Those big clocks at the airports, ticking down to the World Cup 2010, don’t help either. They are somehow sinister and scary. Every time I see them I’ve lost days off my life, it’s like a second coming or something, in 950 days FNB will take over the world! well let’s be honest that’s more likely than Bafana Bafana doing it!

So glorious 2008 is here. What have we learnt and gained in these last 12 months? Well we know that any system that looks too good to last almost certainly is, just ask the guys who were fired at the banks over the last three months. It’s amazing don’t you think that there are woman sitting in jail for shop lifting, or stealing food for their children, but if you run a bank and you lose the odd $billion or ten, you simply resign. Off you pop to join your mates in The Hamptons or Berkshire or even Constantia.  The bonuses you made over the last five years, from inflated profits derived from low quality and unsustainable earning, especially off your sub prime book, or as we say in Sandton doll “Junk Bonds”, are well and truly banked.

The CEO of Northern Rock in the UK, a bank that has cost every UK tax payer individually £900 to bail out, that’s £24,000,000,000 (yes 9 noughts!) will resign shortly. No please wait for this reason! Because the bank is virtually nationalized and owned by the B.O.E (no not that one, the Bank of England) he will have a conflict between whether he is representing the corporate shareholders or the state, so a new person acceptable to both must be found.

HELLO! The guy just led the company down the road of rack and ruin and the concern is his future â”conflict of interest”, that’s as bizarre as arresting Bin Laden for unscheduled air flights!
This man is a sterling millionaire from bonuses and share options, fire him for the neglect of duty, not some corporate nicety. This is not white collar crime anymore it’s Armani or Gucci collared crime.
And so, back to last year. It was very good to me and my partners, we haveen our company grow and open new offices while seizing on bigger opportunities. 2008 offers up more opportunity and potential.

I hope you never believe any mumbo jumbo about a banker’s conservatism again and I hope you and your clients find a smooth and mutually beneficial path through 2008. Because, as sure as eggs are eggs something new and challenging is awaiting us out there. Something that looks normal will morph into a threat and something that looks totally sustainable will adopt that annoying yet ever honest attribute, namely, if it looks to good to be true it probably is!

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