This is an excellent article from the FT arguing that it’s time to consider breaking up the big banks. Check it out!
For me the concluding comments were very powerful:
If we translate that back into the practical world of banking, it would be very helpful if Mr Diamond’s successor were to bring in a strategy for shrinkage. From the shareholders’ point of view it seems questionable whether Barclays’ ambitious targets for return on equity could be achieved by cost cutting alone. There must be a temptation to take on excessive risk.
Historically, the returns earned by investment banks have often proved illusory, leaving the boring but stable retail bank to come to the rescue with a handy cross-subsidy when boom turns to bust. Why not retreat from this overrated business?
Personally, my vote would be for an old-fashioned, pre-Big Bang World, with protective legislation like the Glass Steagall Act that was repealed by President Clinton – this for me, this was the start of the financial crisis of 2008 which is still smouldering.
What do you think?