Lord Rothschild backs occupy activists

Lord Jacob Rothschild, the British investment banker, arts patron and philanthropist, has expressed "sympathy" for the Occupy movement's protests against banks.

In an interview in Israel, where he chairs Yad Hanadiv, one of the country's biggest charitable foundations, Lord Rothschild told the fortnightly magazine Jerusalem Report: "I have a lot of sympathy with people who protested about some of the excesses in the world of finance.

"After all, here are characters who have made great fortunes who have been in charge of a system which has been very damaging to many interests in the last five to 10 years. They have had enormous benefits but the banking system as a whole has had a crippling effect in a number of areas throughout the world."

Lord Rothschild, a member of one of the world's most venerable banking families, was sceptical about whether the protests would succeed in persuading banks to adopt more socially conscious stances by trying to channel their wealth back into the community. "Right now the banks are not in a very fit state to give away money."