George Bernard Shaw, Irish play wright and founder of the London School of Eoconomics once said, “Power does not corrupt men; fools, however, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power" and while I am repeatedly told by the Financial Ombudsman Service unprecedented numbers of complaints are the reason I have not yet received a ruling on whether my HBOS complaint can proceed, it is clear the fault actually lies with unprecedented incidents of banking fraud and not, as bankers would have us believe, the audacity of their victims.While all eyes are on Barclays fraudulent actions following the US and UK regulators levy of a £290 million fine for Libor rate manipulation, it has become abundantly clear CEO Bob Diamond was not wrong when he said “how people behave when they think no one is watching” has been at the heart of his banks profitability and risk management policies for many a year. With the news that vast funds have been repeatedly and systematically skimmed by Barclays from a plethora of global financial manoeuvres spanning as much as five years, civil suits are likely to far outstrip existing compensation payouts which are already run into billions making a regulatory fine of £290 million pale into insignificance.
By way of an explanation, our regulataors tell us a wave of Libor fiddling during the 2008 financial crisis resulted from “senior management’s” concerns that Barclays would be perceived as struggling. Add into this mix a conversation Diamond had with Paul Tucker, the Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, after which at least two Barclay’s managers believed falsely adjusting Libor rates had been agreed, one can only wonder why anyone thinks Chairman Marcus Angius’ resignation along with the sacking of fourteen Barclay’s traders has resolved anything let alone emptied the Barclays barrel of its rotten apples.
With the regulatory finger finally pointing firmly in the direction of twelve other banks for similar Libor fixing crimes it is no surprise to discover Lloyds Banking Group and HBOS are amongst those within the US regulators and FSA’s sights. However, while I doubt previously exhausted Lloyds CEO Antonio Horta Osorio anticipated “bringing out their dead” in the summer of 2011would give rise to further billions being claimed in compensation for rate fixing, it is now clear it will not just be my own case which will continue to fester on HBOS and FOS desks for weeks to come while the fall out from this latest banking fraud discovery is laid to rest.
It is said corruption is authority, plus monopoly, minus transparency and while auditors have snoozed and the UK government remain complicit in their indifference to bankers crimes I, along with millions of other victims of banking avarice are left to suffer the consequences and despite public outrage both at home and abroad, unsurprisingly No. 10 are happy to announce there is to be no retrospective action taken with regard to the banks as “we can only use the law as it is and as it stands”. Sadly, as is the case in so many instances, the law insists the loss of my financial future is too remote for there to be any recourse.
Thirty fifth US president John F. Kennedy said, “Economic growth without social progress lets the great majority of people remain in poverty, while a privileged few reap the benefits of rising abundance” and despite the best efforts of the US and the UK regulators it is common knowledge that while nobody is above the law, power regularly makes people invisible.
It is for this reason banking crime continues pay.