Banking crisis? What banking crisis?

City of Thieves, by Cyrus MooreFiction author and ex-corporate banker, Cyrus Moore, and financial journalist Deborah Hargreaves debated the banking crisis at Mayfair Library earlier in the week.

It was a riveting evening, a blend of fact and fiction. This is Moore’s take on what is wrong with the banks:

  • Bankers’ pay is too high – bring it down;
  • Banks will continue to take excessive risks if the government continue to bail them out;
  • Bankers are tempted to put our money destined for safe investments into risky investments, without telling us about it – a huge conflict of interest.

As you can imagine it led to some interesting questions from the 40 people who attended the event. Moore became disillusioned with corporate banking in 2002 and predicted the collapse, (as did Hargreaves who was then at the Financial Times), he left and wrote a novel about it describing some of the unethical practices he experienced. Funnily enough none of his former colleagues recognised themselves…

Hargreaves considered that City of Thieves accurately described the macho ethos of the banking world. Both agreed that the unreal salaries and bonuses should stop and the banks should be broken up, and both agreed that since nothing much has changed we are probably heading for another crisis. When asked what we could do about it, Hargreaves suggested marching in protest and Moore said stop paying taxes – you heard it here first!

Comments from some who attended:

‘A brilliant event, what a coup to get such good quality speakers’

‘Brownie points for Mayfair for such a good event’

‘A really interesting evening, I learnt so much’



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