Tuesday, July 3, 2012

UK's Ed Milibrand calls for inquiry into 'culture and practices of entire banking system'

Based on his call for an inquiry into the 'culture and practices of the entire banking system', clearly the UK's Ed Milibrand understands that the pervasive opacity in the financial system has allowed unacceptable behavior beyond the Libor scandal.

As reported by the Guardian,

But this is about more than one man — this is about the culture and practices of the entire banking system, which is why we need an independent, open, judge-led public inquiry."
He insisted a judicial inquiry was necessary for public confidence. 
"The last thing the public want is a sense that the establishment is trying to cover this up, trying to sweep it under the carpet." 
He dismissed the notion that a judge-led inquiry would necessarily be more time-consuming than a parliamentary inquiry as proposed by Cameron , saying it could be a "short, quick, forensic inquiry". 
The prime minister's proposed inquiry into professional and cultural standards in banking will be chaired by Andrew Tyrie, the respected Conservative chairman of the Treasury select committee, and include peers and MPs..... 
It will look into what lessons can be learned in relation to "transparency, conflicts of interest, culture and the professional standards of the banking industry".
The first lesson from either Mr Tyrie's or a judicial inquiry will be that in the absence of transparency, where sunlight can act as a disinfectant, a culture which embraced lying for personal benefit thrived (see Libor scandal:  traders boosting bonuses).

This is the same lesson that was learned from the Pecora Commission and its investigation of Wall Street's behavior leading up to the Great Depression.

The conclusion from this lesson is the need to bring transparency to all the opaque corners of the financial system.  This includes bank balance sheets (ultra transparency) and structured finance securities (observable event based reporting).

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