Thursday, January 24, 2008

Dodging a bullet

To get a sense of the storm currently assailing this Government, imagine for a minute that the rogue trader who has cost Soc Gen some £3.5bn had been British, or even working for a British bank. In the aftermath of Northern Rock, as well as the general economic climate, it would have been a disaster - seen as further conclusive evidence that financial management wasn't up to the job and so on. And yet, there is no particular reason why Jérome Kerviel shouldn't have been a trader for a British based bank.
The differences in supervision and the like between Britain and France are irrelevant - this was one of those god awful bolts from the blue that must keep bank's ssenior management awake at night. It isn't Sarkozy's fault, nor his Government's - and they will probably not be blamed at all for it. But if it had happened in Britain a in the current climate, you can bet your bottom dollar that it would have been added to the overall charge sheet against Brown. Bit of an escape really.

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