Bankers should exhibit some morality
In this context, the Royal Bank of Scotland results are relevant. Its total losses for 2008-13 were £46 billion, exceeding the so-called profits of £45bn declared in 2007.
So, over the 12 years – surely a reasonable time-scale for any bank’s genuine profitability and strength to be judged – RBS earned less than nothing.
By coincidence, it also owes the taxpayer £45bn, so unless the bank is sold to a generous buyer, it will have to earn at least that sum for us to be repaid within the next 12 years – hardly likely as it moves back to its core UK retail base.
During 2002-7, based on such “profits”, it paid out vast sums in bonuses to numerous executives and directors. Not one has refunded a penny, though after public pressure, Fred Goodwin reluctantly waived £200,000 of his £703,000 annual pension.
Such directors are financial trustees from whom one might expect the highest degree of personal responsibility.
One might expect a self-focusing moral compass, a concerned awareness of the public pocket’s effective payment of these sums, and a humble questioning of their entitlement to retain such largesse, particularly those who remain members of the world’s senior body of professional accountants – motto Quaere Verum, or Seek The Truth.
St Andrews, Fife