Protecting the public from banks
Sir, – “An uphill struggle” is putting the attempt to regulate finance very mildly (Patrick Honohan, “How the banks can regain our trust”, Opinion & Analysis, August 29th). There is already clear evidence that the sector is actively working to dismantle the regulatory processes put in place since the 2008 crash.
Shortly after that crash, TCD’s William Kingston pointed out that the incentives for bankers to circumvent regulation are too great to act as the kind of constraint that promotes trust.
Dr Kingston went on to suggest that the protection of limited liability should be withdrawn from financiers. This is the first step needed to protect the public from the sharp practices of those managing other people’s money.
It is way past time to make financiers personally liable for outcomes of their management, including those of the automated processes they use. Trust might be further enhanced if financiers had to pay fines personally, instead of the amounts involved being taken from shareholders’ funds, as is now the case.
Meanwhile, the public will be trusted to pay for both ineffective regulation and the next bailouts, just as we still are for insurance company failures 30 years ago. – Yours, etc,
DONAL Ó BROLCÁIN,
Dublin 9 .