“What is lacking is the honest, intellectual, political, economic examination within the European institutions, of the fundamental failure, which the last four or five years has produced.”
The President of Iceland Olafur Grimsson speaking at London Business School’s 2013 Global Leadership Summit. In attendance were business leaders such as Dr Josef Ackermann, Chairman, Zurich Insurance Group; Vice-Chairman of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum, Paul Polman, Chief Executive Officer, Unilever, Martin Wheatley, Chief Executive Officer, of the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority, Tim Breedon Non-Executive Director, Barclays Bank PLC in the audience.
A live poll among the 600 attendees drawn from the business leadership community returned a 66% vote in agreement of the proposition that ‘European political leadership has exacerbated the economic crisis.’
In his concluding remarks President Grimsson added that he does not understand why “banks are being considered the holy churches of the modern economy. Europe’s primary legacy to the world is not financial markets. Europe’s primary legacy that is given to the world, is democracy, the rule of law and human rights”.
Linda Yueh, Adjunct Professor of Economics, London Business School, said:
“Five years ago the financial crisis transformed the way bankers were viewed. Certainly the macro-economic impact was significant and even now, there is a huge debate over whether or not the very slow recovery that we see in the western economies is due to the unresolved reforms, in the banking system.”
Interestingly a statistic was quoted which claims that 46% of business executives still believe that self-regulation is the most viable way to regulate compensation in the financial services sector.
I find myself heartened with the remarks made by the President of Iceland and note the rather low belief levels in self-regulation even among business executives who are usually foursquare behind the principles of self-regulation.
Are European leaders captive to an ideological prison in the corridors of which banking executives jangle their keys and plot a regulation free European Union?