Saturday, November 30, 2013
Wall Street: Everyone breaks the rules but NOONE GOES TO JAIL. They get a bonus.
After the crash of 2008, regulators finally did exactly that. What has resulted is a wave of scandals with odd names; LIBOR fixing, FX collusion, ISDA Fix.
To outsiders they sound like complex acronyms that occupy the darkest corners of Wall Street, easily dismissed as anomalies. They are not. LIBOR, FX, ISDA Fix are at the very center of finance, part of the daily flow of trillions of dollars. The scandals are scarily close to what some on Wall Street believe is standard business practice, a matter of shades of grey.
I imagine the people who are named in the scandals are genuinely confused as to why they are being singled out. They were just doing what almost everyone else was, maybe just more aggressive, more reckless. They were doing what they had been trained to do: bending the rules, pushing as far as they could to beat competitors. They had been applauded in the past for their aggressive risk taking, no doubt. Now they are just whipping boys.