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The titans’ inability to say sorry

It would be consoling to believe that the titans of finance know in their hearts they are at fault, but are advised not to admit it. However, mostly they do not express regret because they do not feel it.

Some companies are too powerful to fail

Few things corrode business efficiency and effective markets more insidiously than the discovery that it is more profitable to win the favour of politicians than to win the approval of customers.

Equitable Life’s lessons for the bank crisis

We seek regulators more competent than their private sector counterparts, we ask them to review not just procedure but also strategy, we expect the taxpayer to take financial responsibility for their failures. There is a name for that policy. It is nationalisation.

Banks got burned by their own ‘innocent fraud’

There are only a few basic kinds of deception and self-deception in finance. John illustrates some of the key mechanisms.

Public assistance must protect the taxpayer

Mr Paulson has taken the bad bank for US taxpayers and left shareholders with the good bank. Mr Darling should do the opposite

Why pain is good – in both medicine and finance

John describes the vital role that pain - the gift no-one wants - plays in the evolution of business and finance.

We let down diligent folk at the Halifax

John returns to his experience as a Halifax director to retrace the rocky road to last week's rescue takeover.

Taxpayers will fund another run on the casino

Following John's debate with Martin Wolf on financial services regulation, he explains why modesty about what such regulation can achieve is in order.

Brown’s rules are a flawed basis for policy

The Treasury's fiscal principles - the golden rule and the sustainable investment rule - have failed for reasons similar to those that explain the failure of targets in other areas of the public sector.

Fannie Mae and the limits of public obligation

The gap between the assumed responsibilities of government for financial services regulation and its effective powers grows ever more costly. Fannie Mae and Equitable Life are the latest examples.