Jump to content
House Price Crash Forum

You Think There Are Only A Few Conflicts Of Interests?


Recommended Posts

I find it strange that the media are currently homing in on current regulators who are identified as having conflicts of interests owing to their past and present directorships, commercial history and general behaviour, for such conflicts of interest have been present for several decades, but particularly in the last decade, such corruption has been rife in almost every industry.

Only Channel 4 news is questioning the epidemic of white collar networking and a rash of "jobs for the boys" clubs and well done to Jon Snow for this (see this evening's bulletin); but this has been going on for years without any questions being asked.

Sometime ago I posted a long rant here about HOWARD DAVIES, now director of the LSE, but more significantly the former chairman of the FSA. Media focus on "Bad" bankers and regulators should really be focussed as much on Davies as on the current James Crosby. It was HOWARD DAVIES, the FSA chairman up to 2003, who was the architect of the whole culture of anodyne regulation. He had several years to review and tinker with the FSA's approach prior to the late 1990's and it was he who put in place the system which is now exposed as not only completely inadequate but also fundamentally corrupt.

Despite Mr Davies's recent speeches criticising the virtual lack of financial regulation where it counts, and where he assumes the mantle of a cautious and sensible philosopher on the question of banking excesses, even claiming in several speeches that he "warned" against mortgages excesses and other risky banking practice, in fact it was HIS tenure at the FSA which directly was responsible for the lax, irresponsible and greedy culture which now results in bankers apologising in one breath then queuing up and demanding their obscene bonuses in the next. It is no surprise that prior to his FSA job Davies was director of one of the largest business consultancy firms in the world. Now THERE's a conflict of interest for you.

But this kind of networking is not just confined to the banking industry. There is barely a single industry which isn't the subject of cosy deals, old school tie backhanders, club member hand outs and breathtakingly corrupt activities. It's just that with all the banking news currently discussed, other equally serious flaws are simply not being discussed.

The pool of available regulatory jobs has long been a fair ground inhabited by a set number of handshaking, party going, brown envelope exchanging club members who perpetually divide up the plum jobs between them. Once you are "in" you are guaranteed a lifetime of riches on the merry-go-round. Failed as a banker? No problem...take a huge bonus, say goodbye and be snapped up by a smaller bank or a regulator. Failed as a regulator? No problem, you can be snapped up by an investment bank or hedge fund, so you can teach them how to AVOID the regulations. Conned millions out of their savings? No problems. There's always a place for you in an offshore bank, who will be fascinated to learn how to repeat the rip off. Failed as a regulator AND a consultant? No problem, the LSE is waiting to snap you up as a knowledgeable industry luminary, eager as you are to pass on your "skills" to your breathless students.

The whole edifice absolutely stinks and is rotten to the core. Banking is just the start of it.

let me remind you of a few:

ICSTIS (now absurdly named "phonePayPlus"!) was an organisation formed to protect the consumer from being ripped off by phone billing abuse, particular from premium rate spivs. In fact, far from protecting the public, ICSTIS drew up a regulatory framework that was virtually a licence to print money. On one hand it was posing as the defender of consumerism but on the other was actually promoting the worst excessive of phone line abuse. It's directors represented a calvacade of personnel who already had their hands deep in the trough of telecomms and other abuse. Its pathetic response and huge waiting list of irate customers has caused it to re-laucnh itself, soap powder like, in an effort to stave off its former lamentable performance.

RICS, the "self regulating" club of over paid and underworking "chartered surveyors" has for over a decade masqueraded as an independent and disinterested valuer,assessor and surveyor of commerical and domestic properties, but you have only to look at its website (and research the behaviour of a significant number of its members) to realise that it is far too involved in property vested interests to be remotely be described as independent. Furthermore it has constantly resist attempts to make it answerable to any other truly independent body.

THE LAW SOCIETY has for years been a monopolistic and possessive organisation which pretends to uphold consumer issues against bad lawyers but has a long history of protecting its members unless the case is so severe that it has to cave in. Furthermore it even attempted to sue two of its own QCs intending to publish a guide to Law Society regulations which were arguable better, clearer and more comprehensive than the Law Society's own publications. The legal profession is deeply involved in commercial property deals, banking, corporate excess protection, tax avoidance and other highly dubious behaviour, and a good flush out of this profession is well overdue.

These are just a few examples, but there is barely a single business or commercial association which isn't wholly or partly corrupt. The vast majority of white collar clubs, societies and associations, and a good few blue collar ones too, live a double life. They nearly all masquerade as a protector of consumerism but behind this hollow claim they are organisations that fight tooth and nail to uphold their OWN interests, excessive fees, insane bonuses, corrupt practice etc, and in reality have nothing but contempt for those consumers they claim to act in the interests of.

But coming back to Mr Davies: This man has a lot to answer for, as do all his colleagues in the FSA way back in the years 2000-2003, for the structure of banking regulation which has now shown to be entirely inadequate was his and their remit. The press needs to focus as much upon him and his FSA contemporaries as any current regulator.

VP

Edited by VacantPossession
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's always been about who you know, never what you know.

They will never put people who ask awkward questions in any position of power.

People who have the natural ability to question never get anywhere.

Jobs for the boys because the boys don't ask any difficult questions and don't go looking for problems.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

THE LAW SOCIETY has for years been a monopolistic and possessive organisation which pretends to uphold consumer issues against bad lawyers but has a long history of protecting its members unless the case is so severe that it has to cave in.

I can verify that. My own experience of taking a complaint about a solcitor to them was a series of questions along the lines of " you do realise this is a very serios complaint" and "You do understand the implications for the career of the Solicitor could be very serious" ect ect. Basicly they did everthing they could to talk me out of going ahead.

In the end I just forced the Solicitor to refund the fees- I could not be arsed to deal with the law society. Funny thing was they had no problem with the fact that the guy had basicly defrauded me, that was fine- it was me bringing the complaint that they were all hot and bothered about.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh Vacant Possession, you are so right. That is why I am so glad that Paul Moore (whistleblower on HBoS) is now being heard. Anybody who ever speaks up or, for that matter, talks common sense has been gagged or sacked. This happens at the very top in government and as I have myself witnessed in companies who have increasingly been behaving in a manner similar to that of the banks. One company I was temping for last year made over 200 factory and warehouse workers redundant whilst, on the same day that these workers left, I was asked to collate letters to office suits informing them of the new bonus schemes which involved 25% of annual salary to be paid to directors, filtering down to a 5% bonus for customer service and administrative workers. On sadly pointing out the irony of this situation to the HR Director I was told to leave and not return! By the way the factory jobs were relocated to Poland and the company is one that has the word 'British' in its name.

On the subject of whistleblowers - I think they are bloody great. Most are ignored or portrayed as losers in some way and many find it almost impossible to every get employment again. Give me a whistleblower every time. Let's hope that Paul Moore makes whistleblowing a thing to be celebrated.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's always been about who you know, never what you know.

They will never put people who ask awkward questions in any position of power.

People who have the natural ability to question never get anywhere.

Jobs for the boys because the boys don't ask any difficult questions and don't go looking for problems.

I experienced this myself after having to organise an INCREDIBLY dodgy tax evasion scheme (I was classed as avoidance but seemed completely illegal to me) by one of the partners where I used to work , I told the partner it seemed outright illegal and that we shouldn't do it...... I got the push a few weeks later.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The figure I've read most about was John Tiner. He used to have a damning Wikipedia page, but - strangely - I can't find it today.

The summary for Tiner is this:

* Worked for Arthur Anderson, left just before Enron collapsed taking AA with in in a story about a cover-up involving destruction of 1 tonne of paper records.

* Joined the FSA...

* Dealt with the "Split-cap investment trust" scandal - arranged a small fine for New Star Asset Management - controversial because it was seen as being far less than the gains from the dishonest accounting.

* Left the FSA just before Northern Rock imploded...

* Takes up position as a consultant for New Star Asset Management.

I don't think it is possible to look more dishonest than John Tiner... which is why I'm so intrigued by how he managed to achieve such a senior position within the FSA... I'm sure the explanation would be enlighening.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please keep the examples coming.

One thing I left out was the Inland Revenue. Yes, even our tax collectors turn game keeper into poacher at the drop of a hat. It started in the 1980s and has continued unabated into current times. Typically a senior executive from the Inland Revenue, who knows all the tricks in the book, conveniently "leaves" the IR and is then "invited" onto the board or a senior position at a bank, building society of large firm of accountants. His or her remit is to brief the board and company accountants on all the wierd and wonderful ways they can bypass corporate tax regimes in order to pay either minimal or in some cases ZERO tax.

If you looked at the employment lists of, for example, Arthur Anderson, you would have found a substantial number of ex-revenue inspectors who then joined "the enemy" in order to use tax collecting experience to the benefit of said company. Another conflict of interests, though retrospective.

VP

Edited by VacantPossession
Link to comment
Share on other sites

the advertising standards authority and the ITC who regulate complaints about tv and advertising have rejected 2 of my complaints that property companies are making property programs which are being shown as investment programs. i also submitted a complaint that they were showing programs filmed from boom years and falsely portraying the current housing market.

they got out by saying they 'flashed' a disclaimer at the start of each program. i.e. this was filmed in 2006.

which isnt good enough. i smelt corruption but i reckon a good deal of the ASA and ITC people are lockjaw into property too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's a funny thing- if I work for Kellogs I am not allowed to enter the competition for a cuddly toy on the back of a cornflakes packet- but if I work for FSA I can leave take a job in a regulated institution.

Surely it should be made a law that you cannot take a position in an industry that you have regulated- the potential conflict of interest is so blatent- what up and coming career minded person is going to dish the dirt on an outfit that he may in future decide to go work for?

The truth is that there is no real will to enforce- there's just too much money to be made by all concerend- their only problem, it seems to me, is preventing the public from a full realisation that they are being b*ttfuc*ed by the very people they belive are looking out for their interests.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's a funny thing- if I work for Kellogs I am not allowed to enter the competition for a cuddly toy on the back of a cornflakes packet- but if I work for FSA I can leave take a job in a regulated institution.

Surely it should be made a law that you cannot take a position in an industry that you have regulated- the potential conflict of interest is so blatent- what up and coming career minded person is going to dish the dirt on an outfit that he may in future decide to go work for?

The truth is that there is no real will to enforce- there's just too much money to be made by all concerend- their only problem, it seems to me, is preventing the public from a full realisation that they are being b*ttfuc*ed by the very people they belive are looking out for their interests.

Agreed on all this. BTW I didn't bother mentioning the House of Lords issue but it's relevant too. I agree on the absurdiity of comparitively tight regulations for trivial matters but no regulation at all higher up the ladder. I think the answer to the commons/lords corruption is to pay salaries to the Lords but completely ban any directorships or vested interest links, loans, gifts or freebies of any kind. For the commons, absolutely no outside job whatsoever should be allowed, and absolutely no remunuration whatsoever outside of an MP's salary. This will probably entail an increase in MP salaries, but it is worth it to eliminate any kind of conflict of interests.

VP

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The figure I've read most about was John Tiner. He used to have a damning Wikipedia page, but - strangely - I can't find it today.

The summary for Tiner is this:

* Worked for Arthur Anderson, left just before Enron collapsed taking AA with in in a story about a cover-up involving destruction of 1 tonne of paper records.

* Joined the FSA...

* Dealt with the "Split-cap investment trust" scandal - arranged a small fine for New Star Asset Management - controversial because it was seen as being far less than the gains from the dishonest accounting.

* Left the FSA just before Northern Rock imploded...

* Takes up position as a consultant for New Star Asset Management.

I don't think it is possible to look more dishonest than John Tiner... which is why I'm so intrigued by how he managed to achieve such a senior position within the FSA... I'm sure the explanation would be enlighening.

I agree Tiner does not emerge well out of this. I highlighted Davies because, after all, he was the most senior person in the FSA at exactly the time when the current regulations came into force, and he has, as far as the media is concerned, got off scot free from any criticism. I would like to redress that imbalance. And I will!

VP

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's always been about who you know, never what you know.

They will never put people who ask awkward questions in any position of power.

People who have the natural ability to question never get anywhere.

Jobs for the boys because the boys don't ask any difficult questions and don't go looking for problems.

What is really needed for good governance is a "Safe Pair of Hands" don't y' know.....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here's a funny thing- if I work for Kellogs I am not allowed to enter the competition for a cuddly toy on the back of a cornflakes packet- but if I work for FSA I can leave take a job in a regulated institution.

There used to be no restrictions... but contracts in 2007, for senior posts, had a clause about not working in the financial sector for 6 months after quitting. Tiner joined New Star (officially) six months (to the day) after leaving the FSA... The suspicious sod inside me suspects that he had been working for them in the interim - however, had been kept off their books and out of the press.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can verify that. My own experience of taking a complaint about a solcitor to them was a series of questions along the lines of " you do realise this is a very serios complaint" and "You do understand the implications for the career of the Solicitor could be very serious" ect ect. Basicly they did everthing they could to talk me out of going ahead.

In the end I just forced the Solicitor to refund the fees- I could not be arsed to deal with the law society. Funny thing was they had no problem with the fact that the guy had basicly defrauded me, that was fine- it was me bringing the complaint that they were all hot and bothered about.

I had a similar run in with a solicitor who made our lives a complete misery, during a house move he did nothing right in the process and it ended with 110k being sent to a persons bank account in Glasgow when the money should have been sent to a solicitors bank in Leeds, this ended up with all our belongings having to go into storage and my family being out of a house for two days until his last mistake was rectified , my wife was made very poorly by the whole episode, I contacted virtually everyone I could with the complaints including the law society but after weeks got nowhere, I received back my fees from the solicitor with a letter apologising for his staffs mistakes he would take absolutely no responsibility

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The figure I've read most about was John Tiner. He used to have a damning Wikipedia page, but - strangely - I can't find it today.

The summary for Tiner is this:

* Worked for Arthur Anderson, left just before Enron collapsed taking AA with in in a story about a cover-up involving destruction of 1 tonne of paper records.

* Joined the FSA...

* Dealt with the "Split-cap investment trust" scandal - arranged a small fine for New Star Asset Management - controversial because it was seen as being far less than the gains from the dishonest accounting.

* Left the FSA just before Northern Rock imploded...

* Takes up position as a consultant for New Star Asset Management.

I don't think it is possible to look more dishonest than John Tiner... which is why I'm so intrigued by how he managed to achieve such a senior position within the FSA... I'm sure the explanation would be enlighening.

Have the papers picked up on this yet?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Agreed on all this. BTW I didn't bother mentioning the House of Lords issue but it's relevant too. I agree on the absurdiity of comparitively tight regulations for trivial matters but no regulation at all higher up the ladder. I think the answer to the commons/lords corruption is to pay salaries to the Lords but completely ban any directorships or vested interest links, loans, gifts or freebies of any kind. For the commons, absolutely no outside job whatsoever should be allowed, and absolutely no remunuration whatsoever outside of an MP's salary. This will probably entail an increase in MP salaries, but it is worth it to eliminate any kind of conflict of interests.

VP

This is a very bad idea.

If you want to end up even more than we are now, governed by a political class of party lackeys who have no experience of life and work and business outside of politics, this is how to do it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is a very bad idea.

If you want to end up even more than we are now, governed by a political class of party lackeys who have no experience of life and work and business outside of politics, this is how to do it.

Hmmm! But the "jobs" they do (contacts they provide, I would suspect) seem to be lucrative directorships or consultancies. I don't think that either really count as "experience of life and work" as most people know the term,

Peter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Have the papers picked up on this yet?

No - not as far as I'm aware. (Well, not as a coherent story - all the snippets are published, however...)

Another character who it's worth reading about is Sir John Gieve - his reputation should have made him un-touchable - yet, until very recently he has held high ranking posts at both the BoE and the FSA. He's just been replaced on the MPC...

I recommend anyone looking for a charlatan to follow Sir John Gieve's career... it is quite an eye opener. I was most impressed that his reward for failing to cope with a massive fraud at the home office was to be promoted to Deputy Governor in charge of Financial Stability at the Bank of England. If I'd made it up, no-one would have believed it.

Edited by A.steve
Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is a very bad idea.

If you want to end up even more than we are now, governed by a political class of party lackeys who have no experience of life and work and business outside of politics, this is how to do it.

Agreed. Absolutely terrible idea VP. Imagine if all politicians had nothing but the job since graduating. Imagine what they'd do to stay in power....no need to imagine just look at NU Labour. Career politicians, 90% of which have f all going on outside screwing the taxpayer. That's been working out well so far hasn't it.

There's nothing some forced transparency and savage consequences for transgressions wouldn't solve here l think.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you want to end up even more than we are now, governed by a political class of party lackeys who have no experience of life and work and business outside of politics, this is how to do it.

What I want to see is a class of bonus driven regulators, whose income is directly related to the amount of fraud they detect- I don't see how the city could object, given their firm belief in the bonus culture.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.




×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.