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Barclays Board turning a blind eye

There are many questions about the LIBOR scandal that in time will be answered, but crucial is the awareness or not of the Board at Barclays? It’s inconceivable to me that such practices went unnoticed by the board. If they were aware and allowed LIBOR manipulation did they know what they were doing? The board was either incompetent or complicit in the fraud and either way it’s a demonstration of how far banks have descended into criminal (Although amazingly not breaking laws) or at least ethical and moral turpitude.

I can only think that today the financial system is loaded with people able to operate without ethics and with the complete endorsement of banking leaders who are willing not to look too closely at what is happening that is causing great profit.

I can remember when I was employed at Robert Fleming I was involved in a New York/Germany arbitrage via London that generated great profit for a period of about 18 months, but after which the opportunity closed. Everything was checked with compliance before we started the business and I was certain that the opportunity was directly due to a market condition and that no one was being detrimentally affected by the business. However, after about 3 months of better than expected profits I was called to the Boardroom to explain the business and how such good returns were being generated. Having been grilled by my bosses they were satisfied and the business continued. The thing is everyone operated to the highest ethical standards throughout, and was aware that the reputation of the bank and individuals was at stake, and no one wanted to damage that reputation in any way, not for any amount of profit.

How different from today. Banking bosses clearly turn a blind eye, only recognising failures in ethical behaviour once the cat’s out of the bag and feigning shock and horror. Believe me all banking bosses know exactly what goes on in their bank, especially if it makes huge profits or losses. The only difference being nowadays is a huge profit gets you a huge bonus and promotion to do more, but with a loss you stand to lose your job. So the rewards to flagrantly act in the individual and corporate financial interest are greater than the penalty of being found out.

It’s no good the industry presenting an ethical code if it is not enforced willingly by individuals. It is the people that make up a company and it’s the people that are to blame for corporate breakdown of moral and ethical responsibility.


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