Simon Carr:

Simon Carr: All this talk of silos is getting us nowhere

Lord Turner talked of 'macroprudential systemic risk' but no one hurled rotten fruit at him

Share

There was an old smoothie who looked like he'd sell you a pension plan without you realising it, he was Lord Turner, chairman of the Financial Services Authority. There was Hector Sants with a scoured complexion and a feral manner just below his boardroom demeanour, he's the chief executive. And a pleasant-looking woman who didn't say anything much at all. She was in charge of "conduct".

They had come in front of the Treasury committee to talk about their report into the collapse of the Royal Bank of Scotland. Hector Sants talked a lot. He used "silo" as an adjective. The previous regime conducted itself "in a very silo manner". He had improved it enormously. Quality. Quantity. Less silosity. But nothing could have prevented the collapse. Pat McFadden asked whether he had agreed RBS had "sufficient capital reserves" for its ruinous takeover of ABN Amro. Wow, did that set him off. On and on he went, answering all sorts of questions, leaving aside only the one he'd been asked.

He assured us that Sir Fred Goodwin "would never work again in a regulated industry". But he found himself declaring that he was correct in his assessment of the pre-takeover position of RBS's capital threshold.

"So, you are utterly blameless with nothing to regret or to have done differently," Andrea Leadsom suggested. He resisted that proposition but you could tell his heart wasn't in it.

People like this can talk their way through anything. We fall for it every time. When Lord Turner talked about the need to assess "macroprudential systemic risk" no one hurled rotten fruit at him. As if the Santses and Turners could! As if they can! The same collapse could happen at teatime today and the mandarins would still be purring away.

One thing is clear from what we heard them saying. Regulation is a poor, weak thing compared with the risk of personal ruin – losing EVERYTHING – if bankers' bets go wrong. And that's a question of ownership, not regulation.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Leonard Nimroy: Spock made me feel like it was good to be the weird kid

Matthew James
 

Errors & Omissions: When is a baroness not a baroness? Titles still cause confusion

Guy Keleny
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?