Our biggest stories of the week are …
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I had an interesting (but competely April Fooled fictional) conversation with the Chief Executive of one of the UK’s largest banks last night. He was telling me about a new bank alliance that has been formed to address their concerns over what the G20 might do about bank bonuses, taxation, lending, governance and general operations.
Ernst & Young has just completed a massive survey of over 20,000 consumers worldwide to see what they think about their banks. Half of the consumers are from Europe, but the rest cover the globe with a strong showing in Latin America. The results are summarised in a 56-page report which you can download from their website, but here’s the core headlines.
OK, so I said that banks would absolutely not be disintermediated last week, and it sparked some interesting debate and dialogue. A few folks were incredulous that I could say this; and they were right, as the bottom-line is that banks are being disintermediated everywhere as I write.
Just sat through a day of academic debate about the financial crisis and how much technology was to blame. The point of the whole day was to point to the origins of the crisis – the rich and diverse world of derivatives – and to say that the complexity of quantum analytics that drove us down the spiral of debt was due to the systems handling our formulas in such a way that it made it look like risk was managed … but it wasn’t. In other words, the computers messed up …
I got an interesting link last week to a new website called Serve.com. It’s the website spawned from the takeover of Revolution Money by American Express last year, and puts AMEX head-to-head in competition with PayPal …
The major general news stories of the week include …
The new chief executive of Lloyds Banking Group has sold a batch of shares in the state-backed lender less than a month after taking the job.
Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway was last night plunged into a succession crisis, after the billionaire's assumed successor quit in a share-trading scandal.
The rules that govern British bank accounting may have over-inflated the capital position of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) by as much as £25bn, a leading expert has warned.
Britain's financial services companies are bottom of the league when it comes to customer service, according to a survey published this morning.
Uncertainty over future controls on the British banking industry could see them lose business to foreign rivals within months, according to Douglas Flint, chairman of HSBC.
Britain's most powerful investor group summoned HSBC to a meeting to warn the bank to amend its executive pay scheme or face a shareholder revolt.
Investors and international peers are chiding the Bank of England and Financial Services Authority for calling for the doubling of internationally agreed ratios.
Among the many bank bosses vilified after the British banking crisis, only Andy Hornby bounced straight back. After he lost his grip on HBOS and it had to be rescued from collapse, he was quickly rehired by Boots as chief executive.
Hedge funds are likely to be the winners from new rules that will drive business away from established investment banks towards businesses not covered by the regulations.
The UK's leading auditors have offered to reform the way they operate ahead of what is expected to be a highly critical report on their role in the financial crisis and the lack of competition in the sector.
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