May 24, 2010
I went along to the XTrakter Annual User Conference in London on Thursday – Good event with some great speakers. Angela Knight, CEO of the British Bankers Association, gave a talk to start off the day. Angela seemed a lot less on the defensive than when I have heard her on national radio here in the UK, usually being interrogated by some journalist who wants answers to difficult questions on the financial crisis and the banks role within it.
Angela said that we were in year 3 of the "crisis" with 2008 being about the banks, 2009 being about governments and politics and 2010 being the year of sovereign debt. I guess she enjoyed saying this but that everyone is blaming "Anglo Saxon Banking" for our problems and yet it was not the banks that contributed to the fundamental problems that Greece is facing.
One major theme of her talk was decidedly Euro-Sceptic in tone, which was that the UK idea of internationality and international trade was different from that of Europe. She perceived that in the UK one of our trading parties is Europe, whereas international trade in Europe was more about inter-European and not world-wide trade – I think that there are elements of truth in this but not sure that Germany industry for example would agree that it is not conscious of truly "global" trade? She said that she was concerned by the rules and regulation being put up by governments, particularly in respect of there being too much and in too short a time.
Angela was an engaging speaker and at the very least her opinions prompt reaction, however I have to end this quick post with the best quote of the morning from Anthony Belchambers, CEO of the Futures and Options Association. Anthony said that current frenzy around political and regulatory initiatives to control the financial markets remind him of:
"A bar room brawl, where the brawlers don't punch the person that started the fight, they punch the person they have always wanted to punch…"