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The neutering of decision makers

At last weeks Fix Protocol (FPL) conference there was the expected presentations from all the usual suspects. Expert people from leading organisations in the securities market all debated the problems of the day. Well, debated might be too strong a word, as in most cases total agreement was obvious. The audience were no less expert so it was a case of preaching to the converted. The thought occurred to me, why is it that with so much knowledge and authority in the room and with the securities industry so well represented is there so much time wasted in agreeing rather than implementing solutions?

The answer to my question was actually aired many times throughout the day with various experts calling for regulators to provide the lead or at least be part of any solution. Other calls were made for some form of mandate to be given to presumably FPL or perhaps some other body?

The securities industry now appears to be rudderless and powerless to manage its own affairs and business. At the risk of sounding ancient I would never have encountered such calls in the seventies, eighties or to lesser the nineties. In those days most of the decision making impacting the securities industry was centred. The London Stock Exchange was the central forum and provided the City with leadership. Of course today the LSE is a sad refection of its former self and just another supplier.

The FSA has been setting many an agenda over the years and I guess firms and people have just become comfortable in the regulator dictating development. We can now also add politicians into the cub pack providing leads but without leadership. Shorn of deep industry knowledge in business, relationships, technology or operational processing, neither the political or regulatory leads have proven effective in solving the industry problems. Indeed the baby and the bath water are regularly on the carpet nowadays.

FPL strikes me as one of the great last hopes for the securities industry to tackle the vast array of problems which are afflicting the market. However, FPL will remain neutered unless it can create its own mandate from the existing membership. It's really not a time to be on the fence and wait for salvation from the Regulators or Politicians and FPL should become more radical. However, this is very unlikely unless the problem of the ‘lack of leadership' can be addressed and authority can be given to senior management to make decisions and then be able to act on them in a timely manner.


Comments: (1)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 30 March, 2010, 04:11Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Well said Gary and I believe an accurate view of the financial world these days.  I really wonder if the real innovation and leadership will come from within the industry or from without.