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

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letters: No vote poses difficult questions – so why rush?

Independent Voices
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside  

Autumn’s subtle charm is greatly enhanced by this Indian summer

Michael McCarthy
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments