Over the last week there has been two separate news items about two very separate men, who are linked only by the virtue of them both working in the banking industry. What differentiates them at this moment is that one is in prison and the other is not. After reading the two articles it struck me that the only thing that keeps one of them in jail and the other out, is scale, job title and the ability to bullshit, as neither one has seemingly been blessed with a strong business acumen.
So lets look at the hapless bastard who is now in prison and was refused bail this week because of (quote) “the serious allegations backed up with cogent evidence”. I am of course referring to the UBS trader – Kweku Adoboli. Kweku’s “crime” is to have lost UBS £1.5bn in alleged unauthorised trading. Apparently he is accused of doing this to (quote) “try and make personal gain”.
Now lets look at Fred Goodwin, who until this week was better known as Sir Fred Goodwin, who headed RBS bank until it collapsed in 2008. He has just been stripped of his knighthood that he was given in 2004 for – “services to banking”. Sir Fred was so adept at providing his services that by 2008 RBS had suffered losses of £24bn and needed a £45bn injection of taxpayers money. Did Fred provide these services for free or did he do this to “try and make personal gain”? I will let you come to your own conclusion on that vexing question after ruminating on Fred’s compensation.
2001: £733,000 salary, £825,000 bonus
2002: £832,000 salary, £1.73m bonus
2003: £898,000 salary, £990,000 bonus
2004: £990,000 salary, £1.5m bonus
2005: £1.09m salary, £1.76m bonus
2006: £1.19m salary, £2.76m bonus
2007: £1.29m salary, £2.86m bonus
2008: £1.3m salary, no bonus awarded
Pension pot: Worth £342,500 per year (although this was cut from £703,000 per year)
So lets go back to my earlier thoughts;
Scale: – £1.5bn loss versus £24bn
Job Title: ‘Trader’ on the Delta one desk versus ‘Chief Executive’ of RBS.
Ability to bullshit: who got a knightedhood for “services to banking”?
Consider the two cases and think about the scale of the respective losses, which situation required a massive injection of taxpayers money and which had the greatest knock on damage to the UK economy and you begin to realise that we all live in a complete fantasy world that would be impossible to dream up without some very serious drugs and you could never sell it as a television series because you would told that your idea was “to far divorced from reality”.
Final thought – ‘Sorry, who is in prison’?