July 09, 2014

“Trust me, I am a bank regulator” is not enough either. They do not treat all of their customers fairly.

Sir, John Kay describes well the difficulties of financial advisors to handle conflicts of interest in “Trust me I am a financial advisor’ is not enough” July 9. But, as I suspect you know by now, I would also hold that the “Trust me I am a bank regulator” is not enough either.

For instance what would bank regulators have answered if Sir Henry McCardie, the judge, a century ago, had argued the following?

“I know you have depositors’, taxpayers’ and governments’ best interests at heart when you make the capital banks need to hold a function of risk-weights… and I commend you for that…though I have some reservation about why these are lower for those perceived as absolutely safe, as from what I have seen it is always excessive bank exposures to these which have created havoc.

But, more important, why do you think you have no responsibility to all the borrowers, to the real economy, and to our job seekers, and think you can distort the allocation of bank credit at your will? Who told you not to care about those interests? Is this how you treat all your customers fairly?”