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Business as Usual

Posted by Larry Doyle on June 19, 2009 7:28 AM |

“That’s the way we’ve always done it!!”

How often have you heard a person answer in that fashion when asked why something is done a certain way? A lot, I’m sure. Why? Change is stressful. Adjusting to change is perhaps even more stressful.

As we are forced to adjust to the Brave New World of the Uncle Sam Economy, we will certainly witness many individuals, business units, and industries resist change. I’m seeing them all around me. Let me share a few with you:

1. FINRA: at a time when our economy is screaming for increased transparency and accountability, this Wall Street self-regulatory organization has not yet released its 2008 Annual Report. Why? I view it as unacceptable.

The facts, figures, and transactions for 2008 are in the books. A mere accounting should be simple and straightforward. With the exception of Bloomberg, do you even hear of FINRA from major media outlets?

Rest assured, I will review the FINRA Annual Report thoroughly, with particular focus on their investment activities, and question them as need be. At some point, perhaps, the mainstream media may want to engage them as well.

2. Wall Street: why do banks so badly want to pay back TARP funds? The primary reason is compensation. In fact, in recently speaking with a number of colleagues on the street, banks are again paying “guaranteed” contracts to recruit personnel. Certain of these banks remain flush with government funds.

What propels banks to do this? Because they can, meaning there is no transparency or accountability. Additionally, they do not want to “cede turf” to startup firms which can offer opportunity but no guarantees. In layman’s terms, the large banks are flexing their muscles to impede smaller organizations from gaining a foothold in their ‘hood.’  Fair and open competition is one thing, but using taxpayer funds to pay guaranteed contracts is an entirely different issue.

3. Banking: why do banking industry execs feel compelled to maintain the perks of prior years? Ego. The Wall Street Journal highlights CEOs of Bailed-Out Banks Flew to Resorts on Firm’s Jets.

Business is business and executives, whether working at firms flush with government aid or not, need to compete. That said, if the executives are at firms still in receipt of government assistance . . . “back of the bus, pal.”


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