Cover of MoneyWeek magazine issue no 664

Where to look for income now

1 November 2013 / Issue 664


  • You can't trust the finance industry
  • This US telecoms giant is a buy
  • The visionary who reshaped London's skyline


Merryn Somerset WebbEDITOR'S LETTER

Merryn Somerset Webb

Everything’s for sale

I get asked a lot what would make the public trust the financial industry again. The answer is remarkably simple: all you have to do, I tell the assorted bankers, fund managers and financial advisers who ask, is be trustworthy and be seen to be trustworthy. Bring a little transparency, simplicity and honesty into what you do and all will be well.

I usually say this to enthusiastic nodding all round. But that nodding means nothing. If it did, the front page of the FT wouldn’t have carried a story on Wednesday telling us that Rabobank has been fined $1bn for manipulating benchmark interest rates; that Deutsche Bank has put aside €1.2bn to cover various legal penalties; and Lloyds another £750m to cover the compensation it is having to pay out for PPI mis-selling. Its bill so far is £8bn. Real money.

You might say all these sins are in the past. Today’s stories are about the reckonings, not the crimes. But that would be to think that all was well today. Not so.

• Read the full editor’s letter here: Everything’s for sale