30 May 2014

US blackmails banks - EU useless

The US 'authorities' (if you can name them as such as the country becomes more and more ruled by out-of-control lobbies and zealots) prepare another drive-by shooting aimed at a foreign bank. This time it is the turn of French BNP-Paribas. The 'crime' was that the bank supposedly conducted business with a peaceful country as that is the only way one can describe Iran. Or can anyone point to an occasion where the country has been the aggressor and not the victim (do I need to mention BP, or Mossadegh?). So it is with growing anger that one watches the spectacle of a useless Eurocracy that drowns Europe in more and more intrusive and expensive regulation but is afraid (incapable? lazy?) to put a serious warning shot in the direction of the United States demanding that the extra-territorial reach of its 'laws' be stopped immediately. Europe - or at least its citizens - have no quarrel with Iran and do no longer want to support unaccountable lobbies and the policies they have imposed on the US government.
PS: Cleptocrats in the US have just upped the ante - $10 billion, and rising? Basically it is the behavior of the typical criminal, grab what you can get away with, only this time it is the government (or the shady lobbies that push idiotic and counterproductive foreign policies on a hapless majority).

9 May 2014

Barclays: how not to manage a business

Announcing that the number of jobs in the investment banking unit will be cut by 25 per cent over the next three years is as bad a decision as can be. Firstly it sends a clear signal to anyone who can get a job elsewhere to do so as soon as feasible. The remaining staff will be spending most of their time second-guessing where and when the next cuts will be made. Even worse, the instinct for survival will make it essential that each and every one tries to protect his employment by trying to put the knife into his or her colleagues' back. Above all it is not even clear why a down-sized and provincial version of Barclays - not dissimilar to a building society or - shock horror! - the Co-op bank, will be more successful in the long run. Is there something JP Morgan or Bankamerica know that Jenkins and the regulatory/political cabal here in the UK don't know? But never mind, Shipping, Car Manufacturing, Textiles, Steel Making etc were successfully destroyed by the Powers-that-be, so it matters little if British Banking is blow-torched as well. Makes it so much easier for other financial centres - in the EU and further away - to eat the City's lunch.