In a recent attack of conscience – spurred on by a pitiful bonus payment – a friend of mine left his job at one of the world’s largest investment banks and set his sights on joining the world of financial regulation.
After a spate of redundancies left him as the last remaining member of his team his image of the hard-working high-living lifestyle of a banker had been almost entirely dispelled. He felt in need of a new challenge and where better than at crisis management HQ – the Bank of England.
Having seen the effects of the near-collapse of an institution from the inside he believed that he was in a prime position to join Mervyn King in the great reformation of the banking system. Earlier this month Mr. King outlined his frustrations with the current model in unambiguous terms:
“Executives at the top are earning vast sums, beyond the dreams of ordinary people, for doing a job which it’s very hard to say justifies that kind of bonus,” said our modern day John Cartwright. “It is a form of compensation which rewards gamblers if they win – but with no loss if they lose.”Of course one could say that conveniently left out is the government’s own £500 billion bailout scheme which, it could be argued, implicitly underwrote the risks taken by major financial institutions and cemented the “too big to fail argument”. But who am I to take issue with a man so intent on sorting out this broken system?
Imagine my friend’s surprise, therefore, when upon receiving a job offer from the Bank he wa…