Home / Blog Index / The Finanser’s Week: 13th December – 19th December 2010

The Finanser’s Week: 13th December – 19th December 2010

 

Our biggest stories of the week are …

Is there any competition in banking?

So along I go to the Independent Commission on Banking’s (ICB) Hearing this week on bank competition and financial inclusion. For those unfamiliar with the ICB, they are the idea of the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, who asked the Commission to “consider structural and related non-structural reforms to the UK banking sector to promote financial stability and competition.” The evening I attended had a panel consisting of several esteemed individuals:

  • Martin Taylor, Independent Banking Commissioner and former Chief Executive of Barclays Bank;
  • Martin Lewis, founder of Money Saving Expert;
  • Mark Lyonette, CEO of the Association of British Credit Unions Ltd;
  • Mike O’Connor, Chief Executive, Consumer Focus; and
  • Danielle Walker-Palmour, Director of Friends Provident Foundation .

All ably hosted by BBC Money Box presenter and former FSClub keynote, Paul Lewis.

Competition and choice in the banking sector

On Tuesday last week the House of Commons Treasury Committee took evidence from:

  • Eric Daniels, Group Chief Executive, and Helen Weir CBE, Group Executive Director, Retail, Lloyds Banking Group
  • Stephen Hester, Group Chief Executive, Royal Bank of Scotland Group
  • Benny Higgins, Chief Executive, Tesco Bank

It makes for interesting viewing.

Andrew Tyrie: a Man with a Mission

Our last meeting of the year at the Financial Services Club featured Andrew Tyrie, Head of the Treasury Select Committee. The meeting was held in partnership with the Industry & Parliament Trust, and a good night was had by all. In a packed room, Andrew talked about the government’s challenges and his own varied agenda.

Europe’s most innovative Financial solutions

Finovate Europe takes place in London on 1st February 2011. Organised by Net Banker, in partnership with the Financial Services Club, and hosted by Club chair Chris Skinner, this first financial innovation showcase event is now less than two months away.

Bank tells women what to wear and men to shave

It may be old news for some of you by now, but the wires have been abuzz with the news that UBS has issued a strict dress code guide to staff in Switzerland, including what bra and socks you should wear.

The Establishment is just PANTS!!!

I was quite intrigued to hear a speech by Ben Ramsden, Founder and CEO of Pants to Poverty. Ben's talk was all about social business which, when combined with social finance, creates a completely different and new form of commerce that, if the next generation has any say, will compete with and potentially merge with traditional finance and business over time.

"I am Sepacus"

I was asked to join a panel with Tony Richter from HSBC; Bob Lyddon from IBOS; and Ruth Wandhofer of Citibank; with the theme: “what should banks be doing to be competitive after SEPA?”  My reaction was that all banks appear to be the same and , like the scene in the film Spartacus where all the gladiators stand up and shout: “I am Spartacus”, banks across Europe all appear to claim they are Sepacus. SEPA-enabled and SEPA-ready, when they really are not.

 

The major general news stories of the week include …

The FSA has put the RBS board in an impossible position – The Telegraph

The clamour for the publication of the Financial Services Authority's findings into the collapse of the Royal Bank of Scotland in 2008 is understandable but it may be impossible in anything other than a highly redacted form.

Standard of UK high street banks is shocking, says Metro Bank founder Vernon Hill – The Telegraph

Retail banking in the UK is run by a concentrated group that apparently believes 'you have to deliver bad service to make money', an influential committee of MPs has been told.

China 'will not be a superpower' soon – BBC

Richard Young and Dr Steve Tsang discuss China's role in the future world order.

Ireland blocks Allied Irish Banks from paying €40m bonuses – The Telegraph

The Irish government has blocked Allied Irish Banks from spending €40m on bonuses, saying it would withhold state aid if the pay-outs went ahead.

American Express Identifies Five Key Trends Driving Consumer Spending – Payments News

American Express recently announced the results of new research on consumer spending behavior, identifying a “New Era of Pause and Purchase” that shows U.S. consumers are giving more thought to their purchasing decisions and redefining what it means to be a smart shopper today. One trend, Check In to Check

Wikileaks: RBS chairman Sir Philip Hampton 'believed directors breached duties' – The Telegraph

Sir Philip Hampton believes some of his predecessors on the board of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) breached their duties as directors, according to leaked US diplomatic messages.

Sants: bosses to blame for crisis – BBC

The Financial Services Authority Chief Executive, Hector Sants, has blamed bank bosses for the financial crisis.

Cheque mates – BBC

Plans to phase out cheques from 2018 face renewed criticism.

Shake-up for dull world of transaction banking – Financial Times

The lawsuit filed against HSBC by the Madoff trustee highlights the very real risks inherent a once low-priority industry that proved popular for its stability

Madoff's son found hanged in NY – BBC

Convicted US fraudster Bernard Madoff's son Mark has committed suicide in his New York apartment, a family lawyer says.

 

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About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, the Finanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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