Jeremy Warner: Women bankers are no protection

Friday 08 May 2009 00:00

Outlook Harriet Harman, Labour's deputy leader, would be well advised to read Gillian Tett's excellent new book on the origins of the banking crisis, Fool's Gold, before sounding off again on the merits of packing the boards of nationalised banks with women so as to protect us all from the supposed greed-fuelled recklessness of male bankers.

The leader of the team that brought us the collateralised debt obligations, convinced regulators that these credit derivatives were perfectly safe, and indeed sold the concept to AIG (now being kept alive on a drip feed of hundreds of billions of dollars of US taxpayers' money), was in fact a woman, one Blythe Masters of JP Morgan.

Gender, it seems, is no protection against either recklessness or greed. Take Nicola Horlick, arguably Britain's most famous female financier. Not only did she allow one of her funds to invest heavily in Madoff, but it now transpires that her management group, Bramdean, stands to collect a £7m break fee (or payment for failure) if ousted from the management contract. Standard practice, apparently.

Women may not be filled with testosterone, but the idea that folly, vice, vanity and avarice are confined to the male version of the species is laughable.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in