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You Think There Are Only A Few Conflicts Of Interests?


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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.

bump !!!

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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.

I'm not suggesting that politicians ONLY study then become MPs. And indeed this is almost never the case anyway. I never suggested that anyone simply becomes an MP at the beginning of their professional life and stays there. I think you are both reaching non sequiter conclusions which I never implied. MPs already receive quite a reasonable salary and on top of that (see Jackie Smith) get ridiculously generous allowances for living expenses and alternative homes. I cannot see that restricting their income suddenly makes them "out of touch". Most people have one career, not multiple careers, but that does not imply they are out of touch with life. Being in touch requires a curiosity to be so, and is not defined by a chosen career path.

You might as well say that all doctors should have parallel careers otherwise they become too "myopic" and centred on medical issues, or that teachers are remote from the world they live in.

It is plainly a corrupt system which allows politicians to gain from their position in terms of directorships. Clearly most of these "posts" come into being merely to provide corporations with a link into the legislature. Very often the MPs and peers have no expertise about the industry they are given fees and directorships for, therefore the only possible reason for the freebie is in order to wield influence.

This is fundamentally corrupt. No system which fights this is going to be perfect, but restricting members of parliament to one salary is no different to that applied to almost everyone else.

VP

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And whether it's worth adding that they are being paid to represent their constituents' interests. Any other job that they do is:

1. In their constituents' interests;

2. Against their constituents' interests;

3. Effectively neutral with regard to their constituents' interests.

If (1), then they ought to be doing it anyway; if (2), then they didn't ought to be doing it; if (3), I would have thought that there enough things in category (1) that they ought to be looking into, that they shouldn't have time,

Peter.

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I like the way the Swiss do it.

I'm not hot on the details but almost nothing happens in Switzerland without a refferendum - every single new law and regulation - probably why Switzerland is so stable as an economy, infrastructure and people - very little changes and everyone knows where they stand, even when there is a change in law.

I think that they have 1 representative for each Canton, who votes which way the majority of the Canton want it. That representative is only in office for a year.

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I like the way the Swiss do it.

I'm not hot on the details but almost nothing happens in Switzerland without a refferendum - every single new law and regulation - probably why Switzerland is so stable as an economy, infrastructure and people - very little changes and everyone knows where they stand, even when there is a change in law.

I think that they have 1 representative for each Canton, who votes which way the majority of the Canton want it. That representative is only in office for a year.

Swiss have the closest thing to democracy on the planet. Good on them.

They do seem to flit between being pissed off about having to think about things and vote all the time to being immensely proud of their system.

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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

Thumbs up on every single point.

You have however missed on your list the biggest, most corrupt and most unaccountable club - the BMA - British Medical Association

Those guys are invinsible and murder is the very least they get away with

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