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Barclays: Big and bad, or great and good?

Robert Peston | 10:28 UK time, Thursday, 5 August 2010

George Osborne's Banking Commission - set up to review whether big UK banks should be broken up - could, I suppose, have been called the Barclays Commission.

Barclays bank logoBecause probably the biggest dilemma for that commission will be to determine whether Barclays epitomises the dangers or the benefits of combining retail banking and investment banking.

Barclays' chief executive John Varley is in no doubt about what the economist Sir John Vickers and his team ought to conclude.

He argues, in a statement accompanying today's half-year results from Barclays, that:

1) customers are better served by a global "universal" bank offering retail and investment banking services;

2) "the history of banking in the last 100 years reveals a broadly based structure to be the banking vehicle most resilient to extreme climates or shocks";

3) that the mix of Barclays' operations has the effect of diversifying risk rather than concentrating it, as manifested in Barclays aggregate pre-tax profits of £25bn since the financial crisis began almost exactly three years ago.

I'll leave for another occasion a comprehensive assessment of whether the economy would benefit from dismantling universal banks such as Barclays. For now, three counter-arguments are worth considering:

1) it was touch and go in the autumn of 2008 whether Barclays could survive without a direct investment from taxpayers, without being rescued by government;

2) arguably Barclays' investment bank has had an unfair competitive benefit from being married to a retail bank, in that its cost of funding has been lower than would otherwise have been the case, thanks to creditors' correct perception that the government would always bail out the retail bank if it got into difficulties (this is an argument that the Bank of England would make, for example);

3) there are plenty of examples of universal banks - from UBS, to RBS, to Citigroup - which were less successful than Barclays at diversifying risk and which therefore needed to be bailed out by taxpayers on a mindboggling scale.

Do Barclays' latest figures settle the argument decisively in one direction or another?

In respect of the issue of the moment, whether the banks are providing enough credit to smaller businesses, there's no evidence that Barclays is providing a significantly better or worse service to the British economy than its peers.

Stripping out the impact of the takeover of Standard Life Bank and of Barclays' increased market share of mortgage lending, loans to retail banking customers - which include small business customers - were broadly flat over the past six months.

And in corporate banking, which serves medium-size companies, loans and advances to customers in the UK and Ireland fell over the same period from £55.6bn to £52.8bn - because of what the bank describes as "lower customer demand".

Barclays, like Lloyds and HSBC, is saying that you can take the corporate horse to the water, but you can't force it to drink.

That said, the corporate horses which talk to me complain either that the price of the water is too steep or that the banks see them (unfairly) as old nags and sickly foals which don't deserve nourishment.

What's relevant, however, is that universal Barclays doesn't seem to be behaving markedly differently in respect of how much credit it provides to small and medium size businesses than narrower Lloyds.

Some would argue, I suppose, that Barclays' sheer size and diversity allows it to cope better with economic life's little misfortunes.

So, for example, it has had a bit of an embarrassment in Spain, where there was a £443m increase in the charge for bad or impaired loans, which was "driven by the depressed market conditions in the property and construction sector".

That would be enough to sink a medium-size Caja, or Spanish savings bank. But the loss is just a pimple on the face of Barclays' overall pre-tax profits of £3.95bn for the six months to 30 June.

By the way, for those of you who remain deeply anxious about the prospects for the eurozone, you'll note that Barclays has £18bn of Spanish mortgages and personal loans on its books, and a further £19bn of Italian and Portuguese retail loans. As for its wholesale exposure to Spain, Italy, Portugal and Ireland, that's £41bn.

Which is not a trivial exposure to economies widely seen as susceptible to further shocks - although Barclays, of course, insists that these loans and investments are decent quality.

What else to flag up?

Well, like all the big investment banks, Barcap suffered a significant fall in "top line" income - down from £10.5bn to £7.1bn.

But total income was flat, after deducting credit market losses (which diminished from £3.5bn a year ago to almost nothing in the latest period).

So it looks as though it will be a decent year for investment bankers' bonuses at Barcap, rather than a bumper one. And for the first half, average remuneration for Barcap's 25,000 employees was a bit less than £120,000 per head (or, at least, Barclays has made a provision to pay salaries and bonuses of that magnitude).

As for Barclays as a whole, the basic story is the same as we've seen elsewhere: profits have risen sharply driven by a sharp drop (of 32%) in the charge for loans and investments going bad; but with the economies of the UK and eurozone still pretty weak, Barclays is not finding it easy to generate extra income.

Which takes us back to the question of the moment, which is whether the banks themselves could and should be doing more to strengthen those economies.

Update 1254: I asked Barclays for more precise information about its net lending to small business (that's new loans minus repaid loans), because of the political sensitivity and economic importance of this statistic.

It said that net lending to businesses with turnover of less than £5m rose slightly and that net lending to businesses with turnover greater than £5m was flat.

Which is pretty similar to what Lloyds said.

Barclays also insisted that it was approving more than 85% of all applications for loans - which looks a bit better (according to conventional wisdom) than what Lloyds is doing (which said it was approving four in five applications).

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    We don't need a commission. An American President has the report already written. All we have to do is blow the dust of from it and read what he did way back in teh 1930s.

    Good Lord! Are you to have a commission to understand where the sunshine comes from too?

  • Comment number 2.

    Robert, again a well balanced piece. It is good news that UK Banks such as Barclays are profitable and that their financial position is improving, this is critical to the UK economy. Barclays did not take any Government funding during the recent financial crisis so its performance is even more impressive. However, looking at the results, these reflect the fact that the overall economy is still only gradually improving. Barclays underlying performance mirrors that of the overall economy, this negates the argument that Barclays is profiteering.

    These results show that the economy faces a number of risks so, as I’ve said before, the only way to ensure the recovery continues is to keep interest rates low. I would advocate 0% interest rates for the next six months or so to give the economy a boost. Low interest rates are the only way forward and I can see a low interest rate environment for the next 10 years at around 2% base rate, this is the only rationale approach.

    Increasing interest rates now would be disastrous. Short of burning our factories and destroying our railway lines and roads, there is nothing else that would damage the economy more than increasing interest rates. Luckily the key decision makers understand this point. The thousands of SMEs that I work with have their borrowing linked to LIBOR, so low interest rates are the only way to keep many of these businesses afloat. They currently pay a rate of around 1% - to 1.5%, which allows them to invest in their business and continue employing staff. An increase of even 1% would be disastrous in the foreseeable future.

    It is important that the UK Banks stay strong. Standard Chartered has most of its operations outside of the UK, yet is headquartered here. It has started hinting that this may change and HSBC has already based its CEO overseas. The big banks can be headquartered anywhere, so it is important to support these businesses if they are to stay in the UK. They do contribute huge amount of taxes through Corporation and Employment taxes. They also employ a huge amount of people who can easily leave the UK. Again, luckily our policymakers seem to understand this.

    I don’t work for the BoE and my name is not Smanatha or even Samantha as it is correctly spelt.

  • Comment number 3.

    There is a danger of trying to be too reasonable in examining the bankers arguments and forgetting the near meltdown in 2008. Perhaps there is no danger as it already appears to be the norm! Did not Barclays avoid the fate of RBS only by doing a questionable deal with somewhere in the middle east?

  • Comment number 4.

    2. At 11:04am on 05 Aug 2010, Sam_From_Hendon wrote:
    ...Barclays did not take any Government funding during the recent financial crisis...
    -------------------------------
    They were saved from the brink mainly by a sovereign wealth fund if I remember correctly. Effectively someone else's government.

  • Comment number 5.

    3. At 11:06am on 05 Aug 2010, watriler wrote:
    Did not Barclays avoid the fate of RBS only by doing a questionable deal with somewhere in the middle east?"

    They sourced their own external finance for alternative sources - surely they can't be critisized for this!


  • Comment number 6.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 7.

    Bad. And thanks to that idiot Boris we now have London entirely branded by Barclays.

    Since when did being part of a global bank ever benefit the customer?

  • Comment number 8.

    So Barclays are masters of the universe once again?

    It's all down to them being a big investent and retail bank?

    Nothing to do with RBS beating them to ABN Amro?

    And ignoring the fact they want cap in hand to Quatar?

  • Comment number 9.

    Robert,

    Why are you publishing John Varley's comments when he is clearly not qualified to comment.

    "John Varley
    Chief Executive, Barclays, which has no government stake at present. Varley, 52, was finance director of Barclays 2000-03. In 2007, despite having no accounting qualifications became member of Gordon Brown's High Level Group on City Competitiveness. Salary in 2007: £2.4m "

    So that means JV is less qualified than I am to comment on these matters and equally as qualified as someone who doesn't even work in banking! At least people in REAL jobs understand SOME of the Economy, JV doesn't even seem to understand the simple things. I mean how well will a giant bank function without any SME's to lend to - what are they going to do? - create a carousel of money lending between each other to 'generate wealth'??

    I cannot believe the audacity of bankers - they come close to bringing the world economy to it's knees through their lack of understanding of their own products, their total lack of control of their employees and their sheer greed in chasing a diminishing profit margin - you'd think they would be a little humble - but instead you're giving them a stage on which to dictate to us how we're making mistakes in breaking up banks which have proven to be "too big to fail".

    This is truly insane - well I actually hope JV gets his way - because then there will be no excuses left when we are forced to bail out his bank in the future.

    Channel 4 had it just about right yesterday, they said the options were "Credit crunch 2 or bailout 4".

    It's extremely difficult to comment on this story without using foul language such is the total arrogance those who 'missed the bullet' feel they can lecture us on - even though they know less than we do!.
    Barclays didn't need bailing out because they found a private sector 'white knight' - it's offensive for them to talk as if they were not in trouble (although I know all Barclays shareholders cling on to that belief).
    JV shows his inability to assess risk (as do all bankers) - because they believe that by 'spreading far and wide' - you reduce your risk. Well as we have seen from the GLOBAL SLOWDOWN - this is not a reliable assumption. The longer it continues and the wider Capitalism spreads you will see more and more 'in sync' behaviour from the world Economies - the banks are merely reducing short term risk but massively piling on long term risk.

    I cannot believe they are that stupid - surely it's a intentional scam and not just idiocy. I can understand the sheepole going along with it (what choice do they have) - but these bankers are showing the intelligence of a walnut.

    When I get a moment, I'll explain to you all how the bankers don't even look out of their own windows - and yet are able to 'describe the state of the Economy'

    John Varley Qualifications quote from:
    http://www.newstatesman.com/economy/2009/01/government-banks-bankers

  • Comment number 10.

    > Do Barclays' latest figures settle the argument decisively in
    > one direction or another?

    Yeah, they're making too much money. It's time to break them up.

  • Comment number 11.

    I am deeply, deeply skeptical about such quick 'investment returns'. I am convinced that this is, yet again, mainly the result of contract paperwork shuffling around the table shaving off the money pumped into the system by the taxpayer or by other, less well-equipped players. The current banking system is deeply rotten and I expect further banale re-distribution of money available for industrial development into the bankers' pockets. They rely on computer models and some pretty clever technological advances (such as high-frequency trading), and all such gadgets are invariably biased towards the quick profit. I might be naive but why the hell do we need the human bankers if computers could do the assessment and run the decision process optimised for growth?

  • Comment number 12.

    #5

    'They sourced their own external finance for alternative sources - surely they can't be critisized for this!'

    They went begging - the answer could have easily have been NO!

    Was it not at a punative rate also?

    Paying out 14% compared to 12% the UK offered? Just to avoid the stigma of asking UK taxpayers to pay up?

  • Comment number 13.

    Sam_From_Hendon wrote: "Barclays did not take any Government funding during the recent financial crisis "

    Yes it did- just not British government money.

    They preferred to go to the governments of the Middle East and elsewhere and pay interest rates somewhere above 14% than to have British taxpayer help (and therefore British tax payers benefiting from the long-term success of the bank)

  • Comment number 14.

    2) "the history of banking in the last 100 years reveals a broadly based structure to be the banking vehicle most resilient to extreme climates or shocks";

    The extreme climates and shocks caused by the very banks have that braod base!

    When your economy is based on the size of your banks then you have an economy built on sand

    Basic banking and an economy based on wealth through production will not need to be resillient to "extreme" climates or "shocks" because their very size prevents them from being TBTF and the cause of such.

    Break them up, all of them, into chunks that wouldnt make page 3 if they get into difficulty

  • Comment number 15.

    Are Barclays any different to the other banks? - they certainly got up to the same old tricks as the rest of them.

    Their ability to acquire soverign wealth support by paying obscene commissions in the process was simply a way of maintaining their independence and making sure that the UK Government could not get any closer to what really goes on inside the bank.

    As a former barclays client (happy emphasis on former) i hope that the governmnet does what is right for the ordinary man in the street - not for John Varley / Bob Demand and & Co - so what if they leave the country - good ridance!.

  • Comment number 16.

    Can we be clear on how the banks are returning to profitability.
    1. they are obtaining cheap funds funds from the Bank of England supported wholesale market and lending it out making increased profit as they have increased the margins on such things as personal and business loans.
    2. they obtain cheap funds form the bank of england supported wholesale market and with that money purchase Gilts which books an instant profit as gilt yields are way above the rates the banks are getting the funds at.
    This is ironic as the government hadve to sell gilts to pay for the huge debts built up in supporting the banks and bank led recession !

  • Comment number 17.

    There are a number of conflicting issues here not the least of which is the insistence that Barclays is a UK bank. Whilst its retail business has a UK franchise, its investment bank is based here but does business globally - contributing to the UK's income and tax base. Secondly how is it 'unfair' that the investment bank has a suggested lower cost of capital (likely to change anyway under Basel III)? is anyone prevented form having both elements to their bank? And, the argument is surely about quality given how relatively better Barclays has been managed. Oh and getting funding from Qatar was a matter for Barclays and its shareholders - no-one else.

  • Comment number 18.

    9. At 11:32am on 05 Aug 2010, writingsonthewall wrote:
    Robert,

    Why are you publishing John Varley's comments when he is clearly not qualified to comment.

    "
    So that means JV is less qualified than I am to comment on these matters and equally as qualified as someone who doesn't even work in banking! At least people in REAL jobs understand SOME of the Economy, JV doesn't even seem to understand the simple things. "

    I imagine he has a bit more experience than you WOTW and has achieved more in his career. Qualifications are not everything, and I imagine his experience on the coalface slightly outweighs your multiple choice financial planning certificate or whatever it was.

  • Comment number 19.

    As time passes it is become more and more apparent that the banks, far from enabling growth, are merely parasitic.
    I guess its possible to make money from taking risks in investing in new schemes to generate wealth, but its lot easier to 'invest' in someone who is already generating wealth and then squeeze them for a cut. It seems to me that's all the city has been doing for the last thirty years I've been watching it.
    I'd like a real 'retail/savings' bank that I can put my money in and move it to other account holders for a reasonable cost so that small business like me can actually trade for ourselves rather than, seemingly, the bank. If I was allowed I could set up just that bank and do transactions at 1p or 0.1% whichever was the larger and make an absolute fortune, enable small businesses to do internet
    transactions of less than a fiver economically.
    Not sure I can find anywhere safe to put the profits though.

  • Comment number 20.

    Barclays has an unexploded time-bomb hanging about in its retail subsidiaries.

    A company called FirstPlus Financial Group which sold second charge secured loans during the boom years.

    They sold single premium PPI policies of which the FOS are now finding 99% were missold. Their model for this business was based upon nothing more than continued growth and prosperity. It simply did not take account of the fact that the PPI bubble would burst and the economy would burst. The loss of PPI income blew a £100m plus hole in their income and they had to replace it. This would have meant huge rate increases but the drop in base rates, gave them the ability to do this by not passing on reductions to customers with these loans.
    Firstplus Group has not passed on one single rate reduction to its customers, despite their loans being advertised as ‘variable rate and acting like a mortgage’. As a result someone whose rate was initially 3% above base rate is now paying in the region of 8.5%+ above base rates and based on Firstplus’ previous actions loan rates will increase 0.3% for every 0.25% rise in base rates. So should rates rise to 5% borrowers will see their rates rise to 14% and 15% and more in many cases. This will create massive bad debt problems for individual homeowners and result in repossessions and homelessness.

    With the PPI bubble burst they had 2 choices - continue (as the market did and they briefly tried to) with higher rate loans into more selective opportunities or EXIT. Leaving their only source of income interest from existing customers.

    They exited in the end and are now left with an impaired book and a captive customer base.

    The accounts of Firstplus for the year ended December 2009 tell the whole sorry story.

  • Comment number 21.

    As both a shareholder in and customer of Barclays I am pleased to see that they are profitable and to date have avoided the need for UK govt. bailout money. In fact whilst this market volatility plus ultra low interest environment (for the banks at least) persist this profitability should continue. It is also worth remembering that they genearte much of this prifit from foreign soursces so being a net contributor to UK balance of payments (if not creating any new wealth).

    BUT - they are too reliant on investment banking - which is okay so long as the UK taxpayer is the lender of last resort - so ultimately it should probably be split up, but not as a sale to a foreign Bank - or, be required to pay a bonus on investment bank profits to UK depositors.
    with Barclays.

    For me it is all of the above, Big/Bad/Good and in some ways Great.

  • Comment number 22.

    #9

    So much anger, so much bitterness…absolutely delightful!

    Probably driven by the fact they realise nobody gives a damn about their ignorant and stupid comments…oh nobody listen to you, poor kiddies...tantrum now? ;-)

  • Comment number 23.

    Varley is clearly having a laugh. I still don't understand how this guy can justify to be in the job. He twice brought the bank close to the brink only to be rescued by even greater incompetents at RBS (the ABN AMRO saga) and then by the government (takeover of Lehmans that, I understand, was only prevented at 11th hour). Now the guy is preening on what a great leader he is. Mind you, it seems bankers are judged more by luck rather than their abilities so that on this score Varley clearly hits the spot.

    But please - customers are better served by global, "universal" banks? This old chestnut was thoroughly dis-credited by the banking crisis (see how Goldman treated its "customers" in the Abacus case for an excellent example). Has he already forgot we have one? Unless by "customers" he means the employees of the investment banking arm...

    And yes, Barclays benefitted a lot from the reduced competition and the indirect public subsidy. Not much skill in that - my dog could do it.

  • Comment number 24.

    It sounds like sam_from_hendon, comment 2, has over leveraged on a mortgage and wants low rates for a long time to eliminate a risk of having to sell up when borrowing gets marginally more expensive, hoping inflation will erode the large debt. This ultra low interest rate environment is unsustainable and in simple terms, risks Britain looking like an unattractive place to invest if our ability to generate returns is so low. If low rates were such a cure-all them we'd have had them in place since the BoE's inception. I don't need to go into the details of monetary and fiscal policy here and agree we can't stiffle new shoots of a recovery but also can't afford to let the recovery and future growth be built on conditions which can't and shouldn't be maintained. Slightly off the barclays topic but just to add to the context RP mentions in evaluating barcalys investment arm having access to cheap as chips funding and an implicit
    government back up plan.

  • Comment number 25.

    I would just like to know what the breakdown of Barclays' profits are; how much from derivatives trading, how much attributable to the property market, how much from proprietary trading, and finally how much from providing actual financial services?

  • Comment number 26.

    Does anyone really believe any bank's accounts and financial statements? They are desperate for us to do so. We believed them when they said they were skilled and knew what they were doing - need I list the collapsed banks!

    The banks have become leeches and they need real reform.

    Let me now turn to(on!) their appointed apologist - who seems unable to understand the we, the real people, have not forgotten the role of the banks in the current collapse. One has, I think, to ask why he/she is unable to understand? This total reluctance to deal with the recent history is unforgivable and also reducse his/her comments to a very biased and illogical gibber rather than a reasoned acknowledger of the contingent facts.

    #2. Sam_From_Hendon wrote:

    "I would advocate 0% interest rates for the next six months or so to give the economy a boost."

    Idiotic. You clearly work for a bank. Whilst there may be a few business that can borrow linked to LIBOR most SME can't. You clearly only know about profitable banking - that same profitable banking that has bankrupted the country. You represent the problem not the solution! Zero % interest rates should represent -2 or -3 % to savers - are you also advocating taking money away from savers accounts too? Unless you are deliberately not-understanding the rubbish that you write I am unable to understand your logic. You have clearly no understanding of what motivates business to invest. It is not the price of money it is the idea/hope that by investing they can make a profit. When interest rates are at a 300 year low (and you want to make sentiment even worse!) this indicates to any rational and sane (non-banking) observer that the economy is collapsing and in terminal decline - hence business will not invest. Your ideas indicate that you simply do not understand much or anything at all about business.

    You do work for a bank, don't you or are being paid by central office to promote the existing status quo ante - it will not wash as your are being completely illogical and always completely ignore the role of the banks in creating the collapse?

    Huge multinational Banks are an enormous liability for any small country such as the UK when the collapse happens - as we have found. Yet you always argue that they are such a marvellous thing - when the facts of the last two years are precisely opposite to your argument. Your comments are thus without any substance and are built upon sand and lies.

    "It is important that the UK Banks stay strong. "

    Yes the UK banks need to be strong, but not as international multinational global banks - that have destroyed the country's wealth at an unprecedented rate - we simply cannot afford the downside of your daft ideas.

    Your complete economic philosophy is contrary to the facts and ignores the reality of the last two years - you want your friends in the banks to suck the lifeblood out of the country - you are wrong - the banks must be reformed we need 40 banks not 4. The lies that you tell have been seen through - so stop repeating them!

  • Comment number 27.

    9. At 11:32am on 05 Aug 2010, writingsonthewall wrote:

    > JV shows his inability to assess risk (as do all bankers) - because they believe
    > that by 'spreading far and wide' - you reduce your risk.

    Varley is out of his depth if he thinks that. It is the opposite of how to avoid risk in systems. To lower risk, you make each component robust and independent of other components. Everyone knows that (apart from bankers). You break the problem (e.g. banks) down. You never intermingle components together - you strictly separate them all out.

    Bankers appear to be too slow on the uptake, and have only a primordial state of knowledge about global system design. They are technological simpletons, using primitive tools to work global information systems that obey other laws.

    We have to move these "cavemen" aside, but the Sir Greedies are hanging onto their jobs like limpets. They'll get blown away for sure by the next credit crunch, but we could avoid it if we can get them out before then. And save a good deal of money.

  • Comment number 28.

    hmmm well its no suprise that the Retail bank did not perform as well as the Investment Bank did. As someone who has a good amount of knowledge of Barclays (no, I do not work for them!), the retail bank is pretty much a shopfront for a risky trading operation hidden from the public view. Barclays pays a pittance to the retail depositors so that the IB margins can be larger. If retail savers marched to Barclays high street branches right now and withdrew their savings, the investment bank would collapse too. Because it is heavily reliant on its retail depositor base for funding its IB activities. Also remember that Barclays swallowed the Lehmans US operations, same people, same attitude to risk. Why would anyone takeover a failed company, yet employ all the same people?

    I would stake my professional career on the line by saying that Barclays is no way near pricing its risk exposure to europe correctly, it simply doesn't have the capital to have that sort of exposure. Which is how these banks make their profits, if they actually held an amount of capital that realistically covered their backsides in a disastor, then they would not be able to announce the profits that they do, its just too capital intensive. Banks simply make their money by masking the risk they take but show it in a way that requires little capital. Consistent and bumper profits can be had in the short term, but nearly always lead to a certain failure over longer horizons i.e. the Peso Problem.

    Now before RBS_Temp, Sam_From_Hendon and SmilingEdBalls reply, please find me a bank that has not blown up or come close to blowing up, before you refute my claims.



  • Comment number 29.

    Considering the problems of the last 3 years were at least 80% due to the greed and carelessness of the banking industry, how come they are now trying to tell us that they deserve to stay as they are, deserve to pay out huge bonuses and dictate how the economy can grow? They are putting very little back into the economy and their excuse is that there is not enough demand fro their loans! Every day on tv, online and in print I see statements from small business and individuals who have gone to their banks and been told they will not lend them any money, or if they do it is at extortionate interest rates (which would probably bankrupt the business anyway!) it appears to be a ploy to put people off - tell them no, or make it so expensive they won't bother us again.

    The big profits the banks are making are nothing exceptional, anyone could make profits if they give out a pittance in savings interest, minimum amount of loans at very much higher rates (7.5 - 10%) and their costs are down due to mass wastage of staff and low inter-bank lending rates again. It doesn't take a genius to achieve a profit in thos circumstances, yet it is so deserving of a big bonus again.

    My personal dealings with banks has been very frustrating at best, to them treating me like something they are too important to deal with at worst ... and they think they can win us back with such smarmy, sick making adverts saying how wonderful they are and how they are here just to help us? I think not, things have to change why should small businesses and ordinary people have to suffer such hardship and heartache when they can see the banks striving to make bigger profits on the backs of the rest of us. Government needs to exhert more controls, or they demand OUR money back asap!

  • Comment number 30.

    Why has my previous completley gone? Not awaiting moderation (when it was), not rejected not published Just gone. Is the BBC censorship to protect the Establishment?

  • Comment number 31.

    The Banks are once again reporting increased profits and however these are generated from their prospective its good news. The BOE has just annouced the bank rate will remain at .5% and Sam from Hendon thinks this is great because it will help SMEs in a fragile recovery which no doubt it will. However their are losers and the biggest are the savers who provide the money the banks can loan and make their profits. .5% interest rate against 3.2% CPI is an absolute disaster for savers particularly old age pensioners reliant on savings to generate part of their income. In fact its the strongest arguement to spend the money at today value and NOT save. The BOE will have to increase interest rates over the next 12 months if they do not ISAs and other saving means will be meaningless with less risk in shares & bonds than the bank.

  • Comment number 32.

    Working for the banks is just great. You'd have to be daft to work anywhere else. This year I hope to buy myself a Lotus (not the most expensive but I think better than the comparable super cars). also, maybe a holiday home in S. France. And I can do that whatever the government might try to do. Brown/Darling were a bigger risk to me but Osborne is a push-over and has no clue and thus "no worries".

  • Comment number 33.

    Ed, also posted on previous blog re Lloyds

    115. At 08:47am on 05 Aug 2010, SmilingEdBalls wrote:

    The net cash amount does still add up to £100 expressing it in accounting terms, assets and liabilities. However each new deposit can be used to buy goods and services by each new depositor, so in that sense, new money has been created from the original £100. Do you think the government printed all the money to get 1960 M4 total from £17 billion then, to about £1700 billion today ? Much of the money was created as a debt by the banking system using the process described above.
    See http://www.legalforgery.com/pages/detail.php?section=27&id=136"

    But isn't this just the economy in action? The person who gets the loan is buying something from the next depositer, whether that is a good or a service, so the economy is growing?

    And as stated the net assets/liabilities of everyone still adds up to £100, and we haven't created "assets". Of course, when people start defaulting on debts then it goes pear shaped, but I don't see the problem in principal. Will read the link you posted when I have a little time later on and get back to you.


    117. At 09:09am on 05 Aug 2010, SmilingEdBalls wrote:
    I have to say SimonDav that I think that article is a load of rubbish. I'll agree that there isn't enough physical "cash" in the world to cover the electronic money in circulation, but from an assets/liabilities standpoint the banks are not creating anything. I'm unsure what you are proposing - that we outlaw loans? Or that a bank must have £100 of its own money before it can lend out £100 (i.e. that depositers money cannot be used). Surely the point of a bank (in a simple sense) is that it attracts deposits, and loans that money out thus creating a profit margin?

    I am not proposing 100% reserve otherwise banks could not lend. Most economic text books describe the multiplier effect from a base deposit. This multiplier effect inevitably causes inflation because more money is chasing the same number of assets, money supply up 100 times, property prices up 80 times since early 1960s - Do we have 100 times more houses since then ? No, just very more expensive, and much higher debt- OK, wages have risen somewhat to compensate, but not nearly enough. 3 bank created booms and busts since early 1970s, Barber, Lawson and Brown as chancellors. Do you think the government printed all this money, or was it loaned into existence by the banking system ? We are trying to get away from banks creating money as debt, government or Bank of England should create debt free money. Government only creates 3% of new money now in the form of notes and coins. We want government / BOE to create new money, not private banks. Banks would still be able to lend from their deposits, for the mechanics of this see http://www.bankofenglandact.co.uk. which involves simultaneous debit and credit of accounts so new money is not created by a bank lending money. We do need new money to match new business, population growth etc. But when money supply goes up by 100 times in 50 years and £600 billion extra added in the last ten years from the banks, mainly to support asset bubbles and speculation, is that a good thing, Ed ? I have studied this for only 3 years after the financial crash, please get into a discourse with my father Bill Davies at http://www.legalforgery.com who knows a lot more than I do and has studied this problem for 40 years, or talk to the guys at bankofenglandact.co.uk Dempster agrees with me.

  • Comment number 34.

    2. At 11:04am on 05 Aug 2010, Sam_From_Hendon wrote:

    > Barclays did not take any Government funding during the recent
    > financial crisis so its performance is even more impressive.

    They were on the ropes, alright, but they were too proud, so they took Arab money instead, remember?

    > Barclays underlying performance mirrors that of the overall
    > economy, this negates the argument that Barclays is profiteering.

    Nonsense. They like wide margins.

    > I would advocate 0% interest rates for the next six months or so to
    > give the economy a boost.

    For wide margin, eh? What did you say about profiteering? But there will be a boost, alright. In inflation!

    > I can see a low interest rate environment for the next 10 years
    > at around 2% base rate, this is the only rationale approach.

    You really want to suck us dry, don't you?

    > It is important that the UK Banks stay strong.

    In five years, there won't be any. They'll all be on the Internet in the lowest tax regime. We need to tax the hell out of them while we still can. That's the only sensible approach.

  • Comment number 35.

    17. At 12:11pm on 05 Aug 2010, Peter Bench wrote:
    There are a number of conflicting issues here not the least of which is the insistence that Barclays is a UK bank. Whilst its retail business has a UK franchise, its investment bank is based here but does business globally - contributing to the UK's income and tax base. Secondly how is it 'unfair' that the investment bank has a suggested lower cost of capital (likely to change anyway under Basel III)? is anyone prevented form having both elements to their bank? And, the argument is surely about quality given how relatively better Barclays has been managed. Oh and getting funding from Qatar was a matter for Barclays and its shareholders - no-one else.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    What a hopelessly pathetic view.

    I guess you are on of those Barclays shareholders, clinging to the hope that one day the Barclays share price will return to £7?

    What about all the retail depositors, does Barclays not have an obligation to them? Or is it strictly a matter for the Boardroom and Shareholders?

    You must have a connection with the banking industry, as you seem share a similar symptom - A missing part of the brain that represents ethics and moral conduct.

  • Comment number 36.

    18. At 12:23pm on 05 Aug 2010, SmilingEdBalls wrote:
    9. At 11:32am on 05 Aug 2010, writingsonthewall wrote:

    I imagine he has a bit more experience than you WOTW and has achieved more in his career. Qualifications are not everything, and I imagine his experience on the coalface slightly outweighs your multiple choice financial planning certificate or whatever it was.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    They've had to make it multiple choice, too many potential bankers were failing it otherwise!

  • Comment number 37.

    Another point whilst on the banks. The British economy is over reliant on the banking and investment sector with many associated skills such as legal & PR tied into the notion we can only succeed with a strong banking sector its a self fullfilling destiny. The BRIC countries are driving forwards on the following, strong commodity sales (Russia & Brazil) and strong manufacturing (China, India & Brazil)By definition their banking sectors get stronger because of strong influxes of foriegn earnings and investment. By contrast our manufacturers are being starved by the banks by making lending rates high and very high by comparison to the rates savers are getting, and by treating them as if they are part of the toxic dept they created in America, Spain etc by lending unwisely in the property markets. Our former Bank Llyods suddenly decided overnight we were too risky and dropped our account in 2008 yet since then we have made larger profits go figure how they worked that out.

  • Comment number 38.

    18# smilingEdBalls wrote

    I imagine he has a bit more experience than you WOTW and has achieved more in his career. Qualifications are not everything, and I imagine his experience on the coalface slightly outweighs your multiple choice financial planning certificate or whatever it was.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Is this the same JV, with all his experience, who had to go cap in hand to the middle east, to get the funds to bail out Barclays.
    If our credit union acted in the same way as Varley and the rest of his mates we would quite rightly be facing prosecution.

  • Comment number 39.

    18. At 12:23pm on 05 Aug 2010, SmilingEdBalls wrote:

    > I imagine he has a bit more experience than you

    Sir Fred over at RBS (the biggest looser in history) also had no training and no banking qualifications. Andy Hornby, another big time looser, had no training either. And Varley had to go begging. Is there a pattern here, where we have untrained guys blundering around in a twilight world about which they know little?

    On the other hand, I agree with you that banking qualifications are likely to be worse than nothing, because they inculcate people with a pariah culture that is very hard to expel later.

  • Comment number 40.

    I would be delighted to talk to Mr Varley about what his Bank needs to do to serve his customers particularly those like me who are running a business without being in hock to his Bank. I have just deserted the bank after almost 30 years as a customer. His arrogance permeates through the Company like a cancer.

  • Comment number 41.

    Yet another story about banks!

    Robert there is a world out there, even in the Square mile so you don't have to tavel too far, about other businesses and one in which Britain remains a world leader.

    You wouldn't know it from the BBC business pages, but three of the biggest insurers in the UK, and the world come to that, had their half year results out today. Aviva, RSA & Zurich. Yet we get another middling story re banks.

    For those that are bothered the UK's largest insurer (Aviva) is the largest share riser on the Footise today and the RSA isn't far behind.

    Also the insurance sector is contributing a growing share of one of the few areas where the UK has a surplus of trade.

    http://www.postonline.co.uk/post/news/1725943/insurance-exports-hit-the-city-uk-report

    Its an easy enough trip to EC3 Robert. Just turn left out of the Bank of England and about a hundred yards later you will reach the triangle bounded by Bishopsgate, Leadenhall Street and Fenchurch Street where much of this money is earned.

  • Comment number 42.

    Another political play with a deal already made by the key players. The issues are about regulation and ethical behaviors and accountability for wrong actions. The politicians like to take simple problems and make them complext to rationalize betraying the public. If banking assets had been sold off to repay those who lost their retirements and investments rather than rewarding unethical schemes things would would be much better now.

  • Comment number 43.

    WOTW: I am not sure that I would regard accountancy qualifications as particularly relevant to banking. In my experience, most qualified accountants (a) do not know how to run a business and (b) need a spreadsheet to do basic maths.

    The one clear dividing line between banks that ended up in govt bailout and those that did not is quality (and possibly luck) of management. RBS - both retail and investment - in govt hands, HBOS - no investment banking of any note - in govt hands, NRock - no investment banking - in govt hands. Barclays - retail and investment - not in govt hands, Co-op - retail only - not in govt hands.

    Funnily enough, if you look at the wider economy by and large companies with good management are doing OK and companies with bad management (or possibly management with not the full skill set required) are doing badly

  • Comment number 44.

    It deosn't matter of what reason or basis, a Bank will use what words it wants to describe how it achieved its self-announced success. So would anyone else for that matter who are plying for their bonus. Personally, I think Barcaly's fan was by pure luck behind a wall before the Brown-stuff hit it.
    Whatever, the real 'good thing' is that people like Robert here can "put the right questions" to these organisations and extract and publish some of the real truth from them. This is far better than any farcical (and expensive) commission or watchdog will ever do!
    All banks suck anyway! I'd rather see them off-planet let alone off-shore!

  • Comment number 45.

    It said that net lending to businesses with turnover of less than £5m rose slightly and that net lending to businesses with turnover greater than £5m was flat.

    Doh!

    less than 5mil rose slightly = cream of the crop with ASSETS to put up got some
    more than 5mil flat = All paying down debt and pension obligations and not stupid enough to borrow more in a lower consumption period.



  • Comment number 46.

    #22

    It would appear WOTW has attracted a stalker.

  • Comment number 47.

    #9, writingsonthewall. I would think that it would make life delightfully simple to see everything so starkly in black and white, right and wrong. But you rarely, if ever, seem happy, so I'll assume this isn't the case. Suffice to say that you have made a number of posts to suggest that you are more familiar with the 'real' banking industry than either pretty much anyone else on these blogs or indeed, those who work in banks.

    There is sadly, a school of thought amongst some which automatically means big = bad. Tesco = big = bad. Barclays = big = bad. Etc. It is dull and wearing. Regardless of what choices these institutions make, the same people will criticise them regardless, often in blissful ignorance of their own hypocrisy. I have heard exactly the same people who have criticised Barclay's for taking foreign money (because the taxpayer will apparently not reap the benefit of any profits) criticising RBS for taking government money (because they are being bailed out by the taxpayer).

    Barclays have performed well. Not spectacularly, just well. This is an encouraging sign, nothing more, nothing less. Lending to small business is increasing at a gradual rate, which seems prudent. We are not in a great place financially as a nation but similarly we are not in quite the dire straits that manyh scaremongerers would have us believe. Further to this, lessons have been learnt for the future. Cheer up people. Especially writingsonthewall (by the way, would you mind posting with a brief outline of what writing is actually on the wall. Many of your posts are so apocalyptic I start to wonder if the world is going to end or something. Is it?)

  • Comment number 48.

    Barclays are only in existence due to 2 pieces of good luck. Firstly RBS were even more ridiculous in their valuation of ABN Amro, which caused the downfall of RBS and secondly the UK government blocked their absurd wish to buy Lehmans, when rightly no other bank would touch it. Bob Diamond is able to pay himself obscene bonuses on the back of turning Barclays into a casino bank that will always be bailed out by the UK taxpayer.

  • Comment number 49.

    2. At 11:04am on 05 Aug 2010, Sam_From_Hendon wrote:

    "Robert, again a well balanced piece. It is good news that UK Banks such as Barclays are profitable and that their financial position is improving, this is critical to the UK economy."

    If you knew how banks made profit you would know this is exactly the opposite. Banks profits are BAD for the Economy - good for banks, good for GDP - but BAD for the rest of the Economy.

    Simply put - the allocation of resources is not being done correctly if banks are making profits whilst SME's fail.

    How does imbalancing wealth make for a more stable society - and surely an instable society is "not good for the nation" - therefore profits made by banks are not good for the country, or the Economy.

    Finally, again a lot of people are easily misled about where the banks profits come from, in the main they are coming from consumers or borrowers. Now if we are to have any hope of recovery it will need to be led by manufacturing or consumption. Neither of these are helped by banks making profits - as it's their income where the profits come from! This restricts consumption and reduces industiral investment - because no factory owner believes he / she can make more than a 25% return on an investment - which is what will be required to ensure profit above the bank overdraft rate.

    The idea that banks making profits is somehow good for us does not even stand up to the simplest of logical scrutiny.
    Perhaps if people thought about what they were saying rather than just regurgitating something they heard elsewhere then the banks wouldn't be able to hold the country to ransom.

  • Comment number 50.

    Robert,
    All we hear is about lending, lending, lending! Last week NatWest informed me it was withdrawing its cheque guarantee cards, it was reducing my statements to one a month and by the way, there's no interest in future on your current account! Savers are being forgotten, shortchanged and marginalised.

  • Comment number 51.

    27. At 1:01pm on 05 Aug 2010, Jacques Cartier wrote:

    "We have to move these "cavemen" aside, but the Sir Greedies are hanging onto their jobs like limpets. They'll get blown away for sure by the next credit crunch, but we could avoid it if we can get them out before then. And save a good deal of money."

    I await credit crunch 2 with anticipation - it's going to be fascinating to see how the public react when they find out the banks need bailing out again.
    At the moment I can't see how the Government can bail them out without everyone realising it's a bailout. Maybe a new APS is on the cards - a nice state run free insurance scheme for banks - a bit like national insurance used to be for citizens.

    I reckon I could run the entire banking system from home on a Spectrum ZX81 - and best of all, if I had 2 of them for redundancy purposes then I could ensure the system doesn't crash (which is not possible with our current system of banking).

  • Comment number 52.

    You know what's good about this and Lloyds' story?

    Mr Peston has finally let go of his baleful attacks on BP.

  • Comment number 53.

    25. At 12:51pm on 05 Aug 2010, AlanWM wrote:

    "I would just like to know what the breakdown of Barclays' profits are; how much from derivatives trading, how much attributable to the property market, how much from proprietary trading, and finally how much from providing actual financial services? "

    ...and most importantly of all - how much of it came from your pocket and mine through increased charges, whether they are obvious ones (bank charges) or ones you won't even know about (increasing the charges on trades for funds or wrappers)
    You can move your account quite easily - but moving your pension around for a charge you might not even be aware of is much more difficult.

  • Comment number 54.

    Robert: I don't want to take away from all your other (excellent) points, but if we apply Occam's Razor to this absurd self-justifying statement, we only really need point (3) on your second list.

    It's reasonable to assume that, if every single "global" bank takes huge quantities of risk, there will be one or two (Barclays, Goldman Sachs) that "succeed" (or to put it another way, survive), when all the others tank disastrously. Excessive risk does not, in and of itself, have a one-to-one correspondence with failure.

    Does this mean that a banking community composed of untrammelled and under-regulated "global" players is an acceptable model? No, of course not. It's the perfect example of survival bias.

    Unless and until the heads of survivor banks are prepared to shut their stupid faces, the rest of us (and 99% of Barclays customers do not benefit from "universal" services like investment management) are going to keep yelling for them to be tarred, feathered, and run out of town.

  • Comment number 55.

    Although i realise with such a low BoE interest rate, it had been easy for the Banks to make money in this environment, but what are people's opinions on the next 1, 2 and 3 years? Are we heading for deflation or will the likely next round of QE money mean we are in for a sustained period of high or possibly hyper-inflation?
    I sold my business two years ago and have money sat in a couple of Banks (including Lloyds, but not Barclays) at the moment, but am worried about the family savings being eroded by high inflation, so am interested in people's opinions of what they think will unfold in the short term?
    I must admit having followed WOTW's, CopperDolimite's and Jacque Cartier's comments for the past year or so, and from doing some of my own research i believe things are looking dire, however with SAR's, Swine Flu, HIV (in the western world at least) etc.... none of these kind of predictions ever materialise, so i'm wondering if the current 'financial crisis' will be the same!?
    There is so must contradictory (perhaps biased) information in the mainstream media at the moment, am not too sure what to believe!? I've been looking at putting some of my money into Gold to protect against a devalued currency, but are things slowly changing and are 'green-shoots' starting to appear as reported in one or two places, as Gold is such an alien idea to me!?
    Sorry for the naive post. A confused G-Man.

  • Comment number 56.

    38. At 1:33pm on 05 Aug 2010, creditunionhero wrote:
    18# smilingEdBalls wrote

    I imagine he has a bit more experience than you WOTW and has achieved more in his career. Qualifications are not everything, and I imagine his experience on the coalface slightly outweighs your multiple choice financial planning certificate or whatever it was.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Is this the same JV, with all his experience, who had to go cap in hand to the middle east, to get the funds to bail out Barclays.
    If our credit union acted in the same way as Varley and the rest of his mates we would quite rightly be facing prosecution."

    I'm unsure why them borrowing from someone other than our government is any of your business?


  • Comment number 57.

    37. At 1:18pm on 05 Aug 2010, jeffa4444 wrote:
    Another point whilst on the banks. The British economy is over reliant on the banking and investment sector with many associated skills such as legal & PR tied into the notion we can only succeed with a strong banking sector its a self fullfilling destiny.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Well done for the making a profit, entrepreneurs are created in SME's not in banks!

    Legal and P&R isn't much of a skill these days. They all gravitate around the main purpose - how many crumbs they can pickup after the bankers have had their dinner. I am personally sick to the teeth from seeing consultancy firms freely tout how good they are at mitigating tax obligations, reduce capital requirements and find other loopholes. Do you think Goldman Sachs would have been able to sell shoddy CDO's to other banks if any of the so-called consultants actually did their job, either side of the transaction? The whole system is rotten to its core and it needs to be shelved.

  • Comment number 58.

    ...and I'd still like to know why we're even listening to these chumps - read this statement from Barclays in 2007 - I mean everyone gets it wrong now and again, but this statement is out of the 'Michael Fish' book of forecasting.

    "On 30 August 2007, Barclays was forced to borrow £1.6bn ($3.2bn) from the Bank of England sterling standby facility....Despite rumours about liquidity at Barclays, the loan was necessary due to a technical problem with their computerised settlement network. A Barclays spokesman (Alistair Smith) was quoted as saying "There are no liquidity issues in the U.K markets. Barclays itself is flush with liquidity.""

    Then Northern Rock failed less than 6 months later due to a 'liquidity problem', followed by a number of others. Barclays were raising capital through a non-traditional rights issue less than a year later (but no liquidity problem, it's all computers!)


    Well done Barclays - excellent understanding of your own business. Could any SME's imagine making the same catastrophic assumption and still remain in business? Only bankers can make such errors and get rewarded highly for it.

    ...and people on this blog actually think it's a good idea that these fools have more power and more control through their increased profits. - are you insane? We'd be better of trusting our money with Ahmadenijad than these clowns.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aqA8hFXWD3JY&refer=uk
    Moderators - all quotes sourced and verified (unlike some others you allow through)

  • Comment number 59.

    18. At 12:23pm on 05 Aug 2010, SmilingEdBalls wrote:

    "I imagine he has a bit more experience than you WOTW and has achieved more in his career. Qualifications are not everything, and I imagine his experience on the coalface slightly outweighs your multiple choice financial planning certificate or whatever it was."

    you should give it up son.

    1) You're not qualified to talk about banking qualifications when you didn't know the most widely recognised qualification in the industry. (and the IMC is not multiple choice)

    2) I have actually done more work inside different institutions that JV - he has only ever worked at Barclays - whereas my 'experience at the coal face' has taken me to Insurance companies, Investment banks, Fund managers and hedge funds - thereby giving me a better all round picture. Also, considering you don't know what I have achieved in my career - how can you make such a statement - for all you know I could be Warren Buffet (not that I am) - but clearly your assumption is biased.

    Still - I think anyone up from an ameoba would impress you with their banking knowledge and skills.

    I don't understand why you would defend someone you clearly know nothing about.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Silvester_Varley

    Please stop trying to pick a fight, it's not fair on you as I will simply amke you look more and more silly.

  • Comment number 60.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 61.

    All this emphasis on growth is starting to confuse me.

    Seeing as it is the lack of control of growth that has sent the world into a crazy downward spiral perhaps it's time to make an early assessment of the effects of further growth if it continues at the same unprecedented pace of the last fifty years or so.

    We seem to be brainwashed into thinking we all want to be better off so we have to spend night and day thinking of what we want next and how to get it. Our labour to achieve this promotes growth so the debt accrued well into the future can continue to be paid and even more debt can be accrued even further into the future.

    Populations explode food and water become scarce the earth's resources become ever more diminished and polluted and yet they still want more growth.

    But technology will save us they say. Well it hasn't up until now so I'm not holding my breath.

    Perhaps a course in how to get off the debt mountain and blow up ponzi schemes would be a great start.



  • Comment number 62.

    16. At 12:10pm on 05 Aug 2010, JON Hertford wrote:

    "2. they obtain cheap funds form the bank of england supported wholesale market and with that money purchase Gilts which books an instant profit as gilt yields are way above the rates the banks are getting the funds at.
    This is ironic as the government hadve to sell gilts to pay for the huge debts built up in supporting the banks and bank led recession !"

    That JON Hertford is why the whole thing is one giant Ponzi scheme - it can only be perpetuated if new money continues to be invested. In this case it's the extra taxes we will all be expected to pay over the next decade. Of course this may well not happen as a) unemployed people don't pay taxes and b) working people and producing businesses will put a lot more effort into avoiding the burden that will bankrupt them.

    ..it's already happening, I mean why would corporations be hurling huge amounts into pension funds at a time when cash might be needed?

    http://www.thegrapevinemagazine.com/retention/?newsid=3077

    It's because in there it's safe from the taxman - and although I'm not an expert in this area, I believe the corporations can 'dip in' should they need the money back in the future.

    What people don't seem to realise with the closure of many F.S.P's is that everyone who retires in the future will be totally at the whim of the market.
    Pensioners retiring now know what this means as they're experiencing it now.

  • Comment number 63.

    Robert the issue here is that nothing is good or bad here. The problem is the outright greed that will see the over paid under performers at the top of Barclays rewarded in a way that is unwarranted.

    Better to support the low paid staff at the bottom rather than the fat cats at the top.

  • Comment number 64.

    Robert rightly points out that Barclays has an unfair competitive advantage and isn't on that sound a footing as it sounds (Euro mortgages etc)

    Apart from low interest rates on money borrowed and invested, it profits from Barclaycard's (part of Barclays PLC) loan interest rates of 30-40%
    and was massively rescued ONLY by disposing of BGI, otherwise the UK government would have had to bail it out.

    I shudder to think of how bad we'd all off by now if it had gone under.

    I doubt Barclays will survive in its present format in 5-10 years.

    That's why Barclays shares had to go and I bought BP - much better sounder long term investment!

  • Comment number 65.

    41. At 1:49pm on 05 Aug 2010, Ian_the_chopper wrote:

    "Robert there is a world out there, even in the Square mile so you don't have to tavel too far, about other businesses and one in which Britain remains a world leader."

    ...not for long there isn't - the banks are making sure of it! Soon there will only be Tesco's and banks - nothing else - and we'll see how much 'wealth is generated' then.

  • Comment number 66.

    Robert,

    Your clear bias towards increasing bank-lending is populist and not well-thought out. To the extent that banks need to lend money to earn money (through the net interest margin), and that retail and corporate customers need credit to grow, the interests of banks and these customers are aligned. So obviously banks already WANT to lend in order to make profits.

    However, sub-standard lending (on the part of banks) and excess borrowing (on the part of borrowers) is what brought us to this place.

    Therefore, while governments and commentators like you need to subtly encourage banks to lend more, it is equally important that we encourage banks to exercise some restraint when it comes to lending.

  • Comment number 67.

    43. At 1:58pm on 05 Aug 2010, Justin150 wrote:
    WOTW: I am not sure that I would regard accountancy qualifications as particularly relevant to banking. In my experience, most qualified accountants (a) do not know how to run a business and (b) need a spreadsheet to do basic maths."

    Of course. And that would be why many UK CEOs are Chartered Accountants?

    I love you guys. Firstly the bankers are bad because they haven't got qualifications. Then the people with qualifications themselves are bad. Why don't you just say anyone who works in a bank is incompetent, and the ones that don't are geniuses and be done with it?

    None of this will change the fact they have more money than you though.

  • Comment number 68.

    43. At 1:58pm on 05 Aug 2010, Justin150 wrote:

    "WOTW: I am not sure that I would regard accountancy qualifications as particularly relevant to banking. In my experience, most qualified accountants (a) do not know how to run a business and (b) need a spreadsheet to do basic maths."

    Then you're not meeting accountants - because I have yet to meet one who isn't an expert in maths - maybe you should sack them if they work for you!
    Secondly, if you want to discuss 'running a business' - then the key part of it is understanding the finances. Ok, if Barclays were a sweet shop then I might agree - a knowledge of sweets might be more beneficial than accountancy - but this is a bank we're talking about. If you don't know anything about accounting than how will you know how a CDO is comprised.....whoops, I forgot, they didn't did they (I seem to recall an embarrassing moment when at the select comittee this was revealed)

    "The one clear dividing line between banks that ended up in govt bailout and those that did not is quality (and possibly luck) of management. RBS - both retail and investment - in govt hands, HBOS - no investment banking of any note - in govt hands, NRock - no investment banking - in govt hands. Barclays - retail and investment - not in govt hands, Co-op - retail only - not in govt hands."

    Rubbish - the reason Barclays got away with it was because they weren't the first to go cap in hand to the BoE emergency funding. Northern Rock were and when Robert broke the story the cat was out of the bag. From then on any borrowing was acceptable (it was survival)

    I'm sure the dilution of the shareholders value by the barclays share issue and the depreciated share price is not viewed as 'good management' by shareholders.

    You need to look up the phrase "systemic risk" - it doesn't mean "one or two banks are badly managed" - that would merely be a case of Barings - which collapsed and nobody really noticed as it didn't affect everyone - it means "every bank is failing" - which indicates bad management all round.

    My next door neighbours dog could run a bank better - I mean at least he knows what a CDO is and how dangerous they are (because the good little fella didn't buy a single one in the boom)

    No, my neighbours dog knows the safest place for his wealth is buried in my flower bed - and he's laughing at us all now.

  • Comment number 69.

    A common thread running through all of the recent banking results has been the fact that 'profits' have in larger part been due to smaller provision being made to cover bad debts / loans compared to last year. If you strip those out non-investment banking retuns have been broadly flat. If you then take into account bank's recent histories of accurately pricing exposures, the chances are that these profits are nowhere near what's been claimed. But then they wouldn't qualify for bonuses would they? Not that I'm into conspiracy theories you understand...

  • Comment number 70.

    It does appear that if the other banks were run as well as Barclays and Lloyds (before Brown gave them a poison pill). The the waves of the crisis would not have been so severe.

    So far, no-one has been prosecuted for the fact that so many banks factored in the lender of last resort into their business plans, ignored blatant areas of risk, subverted regulators and misled investors as to their performance.

    Why should the rest of the population obey laws, act honestly or indeed bother to pay their taxes when a high paid minority escape legal scrutiny and sanction?

  • Comment number 71.

    46. At 2:10pm on 05 Aug 2010, newblogger wrote:

    “#22
    It would appear WOTW has attracted a stalker.”



    Darkstalker is less Glenn Close than Mark Chapman.

  • Comment number 72.

    47. At 2:12pm on 05 Aug 2010, Deep-heat wrote:

    'There is sadly, a school of thought amongst some which automatically means big = bad. Tesco = big = bad. Barclays = big = bad. Etc'

    It is 'Too Big To Fail' which is often criticised. Thus, especially with banks TBTF = Taxpayer Bailout.

    'I have heard exactly the same people who have criticised Barclay's for taking foreign money ...'

    Barclays are lobbying government to keep the status quo, saying look how sucessful we are becasue we are big and because we are investment and retail. This is not true. They very nearly went to the wall too. This is where the criticism is, not about WHO bailed them out, but that they WERE BAILED OUT!

    'Barclays have performed well'

    Why have their shares tanked?

  • Comment number 73.

    46. At 2:10pm on 05 Aug 2010, newblogger wrote:
    #22
    It would appear WOTW has attracted a stalker.

    More than one I should say. They do not, however, seem able to land a punch.

  • Comment number 74.

    'Monety is as money does', but obviously these days it doesn't.

    Banks create money that I understand by having deposits no one wants to withdraw, and lend that money on, at a rate to generate profits. Fine. I can only think that that is the 'retail' money market.

    It appears to be a problem in the 'wholeslae' money market. It is this market that has become defunct, it is this market that is creating all the problems. Why is it then that the majority of us, who only exist in the retail sector are being so viciously assulted financially.

    Banks should make enough profit to pay their costs, with a measured percentage staying in the wholesale market to aid liquidity. There is no reason for anything else to happen with this money, there appears however to be substantial amounts siphoned away from the wholesale markets, but where it goes, no one knows! Oh, I suppose someone knows.

    Accounting rules appear to be ignored, and banks appear to have placed themselves in a position to hold countries to ransom. Governments answer should be that we don't deal with terrorists, and banks should have been allowed to fold (that I believe is the rule of 'markets').

    Now banks claim eyewatering profits whilst the general public are looking at austerity. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. The expansion of money supply must be the preserve of the Government of the day, not the markets and not the banks.

    It appears to me that money no longer does what money was intended to do.

    Where on earth do we go from here?

  • Comment number 75.

    Moderator dudes...please reinstate my comment at 24. It's broken no House Rules so don't see why the need for referal. You had posted it beforehand so why take it down when its a non-offensive and appropriate opinion? (If indeed it has been re-posted by the time this gets posted then thanks. If its cos you don't like my name then its a cross I've had to bear for a long time so would feel offended if you discriminated against me here).

  • Comment number 76.

    ....following on from my earlier post...

    The Banks are blind to the next crisis - just as they were blind to the first one. Despite all their backslapping about profits - they're still making the same old mistakes.

    If you use the following commercial property search in the following locations - you will see the amount of distressed and desperate office space for sale outside the window of the banks own head offices

    http://www.showcase.co.uk

    Now I realise many CEO's "work from home" - but you would think someone would have noticed the 'for sale' and 'to let' signs going up around the head office when they do occassionaly 'pop in'.

    Barclays HQ - E14 5HP - 3,418,679 Sq Ft within half a mile
    Lloyds HQ - Gresham Street - 490,737 Sq Ft within quarter of a mile

    ...and here's what they're saying about the commerical property world

    Barclays
    "Despite recent rises, we believe that both US and UK markets are still someway below their “fair values”, therefore we expect further gains in these two REITs markets in 2010"
    http://www.barclayswealth.com/insights/volume10/the-barclays-wealth-view.htm

    Lloyds
    "It sees commercial property prices growing by just 6% this year and 2% next year. Finally, it predicts unemployment will peak in 2010."
    http://www.fool.co.uk/news/investing/company-comment/2010/08/04/lloyds-gallops-back-into-profit.aspx

    (I've left out RBS offices as their HQ is in Scotland - but please check yourself)

    As I always say - don't take my word for it - look for yourself. Book a cheap train ticket to London, register for one of TFL's hire bikes and ride it around the city and count the number of vacant commerical properties for sale and for rent. They're everywhere - and yet all the banks remain bullish in this sector (because their exposure doesn't leave them any choice.

    Make sure you take a trip round broadgate circle and the new Broadgate tower, you'll hardly recognise the city as there are 5-a-side football pitches and golfing ranges (folgate street) which are still here as they are bringing in more revenue than the commerical property market at the moment! Take a trip along moorgate - not all those businesses and shops have gone for Crossrail, some aren't even in the way! ...and where is that new shopping centre and office building on cheapside - seems like it's become 'property cheapside' now.

    ...of course only those with 2 eyes can see - all those 'one eyed kings' are oblivious to the signs of recession still very much with us.

  • Comment number 77.

    22. At 12:38pm on 05 Aug 2010, darksurfer.

    Got anything to say? - I didn't think so.

  • Comment number 78.

    Jacques, post 39 I assume from your logic re bankers qualifications being worse than not having them that you are quite comfortable with getting legal advice from an unqualified lawyer or living in a house that was designed by someone with no knowledge of architecture.

    Having said that the very basic banking investment exams aren't worth the paper they are written on. I invigilated at some professional examinations earlier this year where one of the exams was a basic investment planning exam aimed at bankers.

    The candidates were mostly from the high street banks and over half couldn't complete the front sheet correctly even though it only required them to detail their exam entry number, the exam they were sitting and the questions they answered.

    The one candidate that ticked that he had answered the whole of questions 4, 5 & 6 despite there being only 3 questions (admittedly with lots of sub parts) struck me as someone likely to go far in banking.



  • Comment number 79.

    SmilingEdballs:

    There is an old saying never pick a fight with an idiot, they drag you down to their level and then beat you on experience

  • Comment number 80.

    59. At 2:46pm on 05 Aug 2010, writingsonthewall wrote:

    you should give it up son.

    1) You're not qualified to talk about banking qualifications when you didn't know the most widely recognised qualification in the industry. (and the IMC is not multiple choice)"

    ROFL! You much lauded IMC is an entry level qualification! It's a foundation course for those wanting to do CFA. Hate to say it but I imagine this has a rather high pass rate.


  • Comment number 81.

    59. At 2:46pm on 05 Aug 2010, writingsonthewall wrote:

    2) I have actually done more work inside different institutions that JV - he has only ever worked at Barclays - whereas my 'experience at the coal face' has taken me to Insurance companies, Investment banks, Fund managers and hedge funds - thereby giving me a better all round picture. Also, considering you don't know what I have achieved in my career - how can you make such a statement - "

    This gets better and better! If I am not mistaken, you are now contending that your work experience is more sort after than somebody who is CFO of Barclays, one of the biggest UK companies? You are a fantasist mate. Brilliant :D

  • Comment number 82.

    56. At 2:33pm on 05 Aug 2010, SmilingEdBalls wrote:

    I'm unsure why them borrowing from someone other than our government is any of your business?

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Lets see...

    1) Had Barclays not secured funds from the Qatari SWF, it would have had to turn to the UK Govt. Therefore joe public are entitled to voice an opinion.

    2) A lot of us could have savings through Barclays. Therefore we are entitled to voice an opinion.

    3) A lot of us may have exposure to Barclays through our pension funds, directly or indirectly. Therefore we are entitled to voice an opinion.

    Shall I continue? Or are the above 3 points water tight enough to substantiate our arguments?

  • Comment number 83.

    So the Govt has allowed banks like Barclays and the rest to continue there business operations in fields that make them money, not servicing the area of clients which require help, except divesify all there powers to investment banksing and screwing you retail investor in the markets out through volatility.

    So as a Govt we allow them to borrow from the BOE at rock bottom rates, so they can get there house in order, charge us through the roof for short term loans.

    I don't remember our Govt doing it to them, so why are they doing it to us?

    In all honesty as a layman, they have shafted everyone as everyone is dependant on the credit system for living in the West, the East should be laughing at us!

    I work in banking and i see what people care aboout- RULES:
    Rule No1 - Watch youself and secrew everyone else, so i get a bonus!
    The are no more rules, there are no morals!

  • Comment number 84.

    47. At 2:12pm on 05 Aug 2010, Deep-heat wrote:

    "#9, writingsonthewall. I would think that it would make life delightfully simple to see everything so starkly in black and white, right and wrong. But you rarely, if ever, seem happy, so I'll assume this isn't the case."

    You assume wrong, I am perfectly happy - if you had visited this blog before then you would know that. It's only economic fantasy that annoys me - and of course teh gullibility of those who believe in it - but only via hear say - because most of these people have only ever seen the inside of a bank when they deposit their cash.

    "Suffice to say that you have made a number of posts to suggest that you are more familiar with the 'real' banking industry than either pretty much anyone else on these blogs or indeed, those who work in banks."

    I have worked in banks - that's why I can speak with such authority about it. The same as RiskAnalyst (who is a risk analyst) - have you ever seen the workings of a financial institution? Where have your worked that has given you this differing view?

    "There is sadly, a school of thought amongst some which automatically means big = bad. Tesco = big = bad. Barclays = big = bad. Etc. It is dull and wearing."

    Of course - Fascism is so tedious isn't it?
    "is a radical and authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to organize a nation according to corporatist perspectives, values, and systems, including the political system and the economy"

    ....or didn't you realise that?

    "Regardless of what choices these institutions make, the same people will criticise them regardless, often in blissful ignorance of their own hypocrisy. I have heard exactly the same people who have criticised Barclay's for taking foreign money (because the taxpayer will apparently not reap the benefit of any profits) criticising RBS for taking government money (because they are being bailed out by the taxpayer)."

    Well then you need to stop listening to hypocrites.

    "Barclays have performed well. Not spectacularly, just well. This is an encouraging sign, nothing more, nothing less."

    An encouraging sign for who? - where ydo you think those profits came from - thin air?

    "Lending to small business is increasing at a gradual rate, which seems prudent."

    Where - got any evidence for that? It seems you are at odds with the current chancellor and the previous one, and all the anecdotal evidence we see here, on the TV, in the news etc. etc. etc.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-10833287

    you see you're quite quick to chirp in with "banks are increasing their lending" - but you don't have a shred of evidence for it
    Only the banks claim they are offering lending - and if you can't work out why businesses aren't taking it then you need to go and do some more homework.

    "We are not in a great place financially as a nation but similarly we are not in quite the dire straits that manyh scaremongerers would have us believe."

    Oh really - and what gives you that impression? The Government who didn't see this coming? The bankers who didn't see this coming? or the economists who didn't see this coming?

    Me - I'd rather listen to people who did see this coming

    "Further to this, lessons have been learnt for the future."

    I presume you're talking about the non-existent regulation - exactly, non-existent. What lessons have been learned? - No more bailouts? - don't count on that.

    "Cheer up people. Especially writingsonthewall (by the way, would you mind posting with a brief outline of what writing is actually on the wall. Many of your posts are so apocalyptic I start to wonder if the world is going to end or something. Is it?)"

    Not the world, just the Economy - for some people this is the world. Oh and of course you might find it hard to feed yourself and your family if you're totally reliant on the just in time Economy. Have you not seen the price of wheat lately? - what about cocoa? - or are you looking at the shop prices and not what we're going to be paying in the future (i.e. futures)

    Instead of wasting your time listening and regurgitating from those who didn't prevent this mess or even see it coming, try listening to those that did.

    Marc Faber
    Gerald Celente
    Max Keiser
    http://www.trendsresearch.com/index.htm

  • Comment number 85.

    68. At 3:06pm on 05 Aug 2010, writingsonthewall wrote:

    If you don't know anything about accounting than how will you know how a CDO is comprised....."

    Good grief man, get a grip. How is accountancy and CDO theory in any way related (aside from the fact that it is numerical and an accountant is more likely to be smart enough to understand the concepts).

    You really do write some utter drivel.

  • Comment number 86.

    55. At 2:26pm on 05 Aug 2010, Squirrel_and_G-Man wrote:

    "I must admit having followed WOTW's, CopperDolimite's and Jacque Cartier's comments for the past year or so, and from doing some of my own research i believe things are looking dire, however with SAR's, Swine Flu, HIV (in the western world at least) etc.... none of these kind of predictions ever materialise, so i'm wondering if the current 'financial crisis' will be the same!?"

    It would be madness to predict the effects of disease on the world as it's a natural phenomenon - however Economics is not a natural phenomenon (despite the free market bungles thinking it's some sort of Darwinian survival of the fittest) - hence it's predictable to some extent.

    I say to some extent, because if Capitalism had been left to it's own devices - it would have collapsed by now. However the intervention of Government to keep the system going through capital / asset destruction (war), deflating currencies, inflation, taxation and cuts makes the timing of prediction very difficult. However rest assured - every time the Government claims it's fixed the problem - it returns.

    Most sensible people would start looking seriously at alternatives - but our Government (and it doesn't matter which colour Neo-liberal I'm talking about) refuses to do so - and in fact will commit more and more resources to propping the rotten system up.

    It's only the blind will of the people which allows them to get away with it - and despite there being some hardcore never say die Capitalist on here - they are now in the minority. The world is now discovering what 'Capitalist collapse' means to them personally - like the kids at Sandwell school working in leaky huts for the next 5 years.

    There's a lot more to come yet - and every day these last remaining capitalist and their hangers on lose their arguments as we still seem to be in the mire - despite them assuring us this would be a 'V' shaped recovery.

    ...you see Capitalists - great at exploitation - not so good with the history.

  • Comment number 87.

    56. At 2:33pm on 05 Aug 2010, SmilingEdBalls wrote:

    > I'm unsure why them borrowing from someone other than our government
    > is any of your business?


    Yes, we know you're unsure about things. But I'll bring you up to speed pretty quick, don't worry. Barclays is a pretty big piece of kit and it has to be reliable and working for us. We certainly want to limit the ability of any foreign potentate to manipulate events in London, and we don't want any London based bank to put the interests of some other country before the interests of our own citizens.

    I know that the minds of many bankers are hard wired to take a simplistic view of the world, but please try, try to rise above it. We know you have it in oyu.


  • Comment number 88.

    67. At 2:59pm on 05 Aug 2010, SmilingEdBalls wrote:

    "Of course. And that would be why many UK CEOs are Chartered Accountants?"

    Name them.

    "I love you guys. Firstly the bankers are bad because they haven't got qualifications. Then the people with qualifications themselves are bad. Why don't you just say anyone who works in a bank is incompetent, and the ones that don't are geniuses and be done with it?"

    2 different people said that - there's no contradiction there.

    "None of this will change the fact they have more money than you though."

    ...and that's how you measure success is it? - oh you have so much to learn little boy.

  • Comment number 89.

    60. At 2:47pm on 05 Aug 2010, baudolino wrote:

    "#40. Geoff. Ah, you see banks are under no obligation to serve customers. They have a moral and ethical duty to the shareholders to make a profit. This is capitalism. You have also exercised your right under this system to take your business elsewhere."

    yes, and he can get ripped off at bank A, ripped off at bank B, ripped off at bank C etc.

    What a wonderful choice - great phrase that 'choice' - just like the 'choice' that the Tories promised when they allowed satellite broadcasting - but of course it's only a choice for those who can afford it - the vast majority get less choice.

  • Comment number 90.

    70. At 3:16pm on 05 Aug 2010, Paul T Horgan wrote:
    ...Why should the rest of the population obey laws, act honestly or indeed bother to pay their taxes when a high paid minority escape legal scrutiny and sanction?
    ==============================

    and how!

    Ex Barclays man turned 'good' - you might need a coffee to read this one, another tip of an iceberg...

    http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/europe/100724/swiss-banking-secrecy

  • Comment number 91.

    Yep, another disappering post

    Moderation to Peston!

  • Comment number 92.

    Dear Director General,do give Robert Peston a pay rise.He's worth every penny of the Licence Fee ..even if he does occasionally stray into Stephanomics territory.
    His exposition in blog ,and on Radio and TV,of the intricacies of the post "Northern Rock era" has been clarity itself.
    I remain your obsessive reader.
    Abstraction

  • Comment number 93.

    56. At 2:33pm on 05 Aug 2010, SmilingEdBalls wrote:

    "I'm unsure why them borrowing from someone other than our government is any of your business?"

    THEY BORROWED FROM US FIRST!!!!
    (or did you think the BoE facility was owned by aliens?)

    "On 30 August 2007, Barclays was forced to borrow £1.6bn ($3.2bn) from the Bank of England sterling standby facility."

    You really need to stop embarrassing yourself.

  • Comment number 94.

    I find myself strangely on the side of the banks when it comes to business loans, and I find the media criticism of the banks rather odd.

    When the credit crunch came, the first huge casualty was Woolworths. Strangely, very few commented why such a large company had fallen over so quickly, much preferring to panic-monger about the Credit Crunch than look at the detail.

    The bottom line was that as a company it was incredibly overstretched on loans and was relying on refinancing and extra borrowing to service its already huge indebtedness. In long past decades it would have been seen as madness and the company would probably have folded several years earlier.

    The proof was fast in coming. Within a matter of a few days after loans had been refused, the company rolled over and died. Several others did the same.

    The situation we are now in is that banks are no longer prepared to make the incredibly risky loans they were making 5 years ago - loans they should never have made in an market environment anyway.

    This extends to small businesses too. In the first decade of this century we have seen the demise of a huge number of small businesses who were unable to sustain their set up loans. Where they have survived it has been because of more recent low interests rates rather than they were becoming successful.

    In the same way as in our personal lives we believe it is our right to own everything we cannot afford, and will max out our credit cards to do so, so in in the business world we have become impatient feeling that we have a right to grow as fast as we want, even if the state of the business simply does not justify it.

    Stable, successful businesses are those that grew with the pace of their market and have little or no debt.

    If a business, whether it is Joe Blogs the Butcher or a huge media company, has debts bigger than the business value, then that business is rotten. And the person who loaned that money is irresponsible.

    I do wonder if all those business complaining now that they cannot get a loan, will still complain in a few years (assuming they survive) when interest rates sky-rocket and they realise how much trouble they would have been in.

    If they don't survive because they could not borrow money, then it could be argued that they should not be in that business in the first place. A business should survive because it balances its books, not because it keeps taking out loans.

    Only a couple of years ago, Ken Clerk and many financial journalists were bleating on about unsustainable debt levels and saying businesses were borrowing too much.

    Now the banks have nailed up the vaults - and who is complaining?

    Ken Clerk and the Financial journalists!

  • Comment number 95.

    73. At 3:40pm on 05 Aug 2010, Alesha Soba wrote:

    "More than one I should say. They do not, however, seem able to land a punch."

    Do you want to know my secret?

    It's because I am defending what I say with the truth - whereas the detractors seem to be using anything they can lay their hands on to try to undermine what I say - most of which isn't based on anything credible.

    Isn't anyone a little bit worried that the forces of Capitalism cannot muster anything better to defend itself than this?

    In the early days - just after Northern Rock there were free market Capitalist on here who could actually hold an argument, people who knew their Economic theory (right or wrong). However those have sensibly drawn into the background knowing that this isn't going to end well (because even FMC's know a system going wrong when they see it)

    Now all we're left with is the Capitalist fanatics who don't have any economic theory to debate but can only really say "Capitalism is best - Boo ya!" - they think they're supporting a football team and that they loyalty will be rewarded (but as most football fans know, money ruins everything and there is no loyalty in business)

    I know I can prove everything I say (within reason), I can demonstrate it, and I can point you all to where it's happening now - so you can discover for yourselves.
    There isn't a single person who cna point to definite signs of recovery - because they don't exist. All you can get is "things are getting worse more slowly"

    Anyone who has read JK Galbraiths book, the great crash - will understand why this is so relevant.

  • Comment number 96.

    75. At 3:42pm on 05 Aug 2010, Hugh_Janus wrote:

    "Moderator dudes...please reinstate my comment at 24. It's broken no House Rules so don't see why the need for referal. You had posted it beforehand so why take it down when its a non-offensive and appropriate opinion?"

    I think it might be your username ;-0

  • Comment number 97.

    78. At 3:53pm on 05 Aug 2010, Ian_the_chopper wrote:

    Having said that the very basic banking investment exams aren't worth the paper they are written on"

    Bad luck WOTW.


  • Comment number 98.

    79. At 3:53pm on 05 Aug 2010, Justin150 wrote:
    SmilingEdballs:

    There is an old saying never pick a fight with an idiot, they drag you down to their level and then beat you on experience"

    Looks like you've gone for the usual cop out rather than debate. Fair enough.



  • Comment number 99.

    80. At 3:55pm on 05 Aug 2010, SmilingEdBalls wrote:

    "ROFL! You much lauded IMC is an entry level qualification! It's a foundation course for those wanting to do CFA. Hate to say it but I imagine this has a rather high pass rate."

    Congratulations - after 2 days you've worked out how to use the internet!

    Now see what else you can find?

    ....and before you go, just to demonstrate how clever you are - why don't you clearly explain to the class what the difference between a CDO and a CDS please.

    When you've done that you can go and get yourself an IMC and prove to us how 'entry level' it is.

    I think you and Justin150 go well together - peas in a pod and all that...

  • Comment number 100.

    67. At 2:59pm on 05 Aug 2010, SmilingEdBalls wrote:
    "None of this will change the fact they have more money than you though."



    And in banker world, this is all that everything boils down to.

    You people really are vacant caricatures.

 

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