Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Just a little accountability please.

Recently I expressed my concerns about executive compensation and specifically the size of that compensation when compared to the average wage earned in their organizations.  This disparity seems to be most notable in the financial industries.  It is ironic that in an industry that does not make anything, we find that the distribution of compensation is most disparate.

Let me explain that last comment.  General Motors makes cars; farmers grow meats, fruits and vegetables.  But financial institutions do not make anything.  What they do is to redistribute wealth and take a commission for doing so.  Their efforts really do not rely on a profitable transaction taking place; they make a commission for facilitating the transaction.

So in the absence of truly creating something tangible; and in being overcompensated in the process; how is it that we also have left these executive halls unaccountable for the malfeasance that has come to light since the beginning of the Great Recession.  Keep in mind that the main reason for the downturn in the economy was bank failures brought about by something called derivative trading and sub-prime mortgages.  (Without getting into the specifics, US banks had to trade outside the country with these financial initiatives because they were illegal in the US. Go to this website for more insight

Although some of the financial institutions are now paying large fines associated with these activities - JP Morgan just paid $13 billion - not one executive has faced any criminal charges.  This despite the fact that the actions were illegal and the executives were compensated very handsomely through their bonuses for the profits generated from these schemes.  In fact, not one Wall Street financial executive has faced any criminal complaint several years after this all began.

In a different but similar kind of action, JP Morgan agreed to pay over $2.6 billion to settle allegations of criminal and civil activities related to the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme.  Madoff is serving a life sentence for his actions.  No one at the Bank will serve any time for facilitating Madoff for over 15 years.

In Canada, The Royal Bank agreed to pay $17 million  to settle claims in the Earl Jones Ponzi case, all the while denying any responsibility. ``RBC has closely examined its role in providing Earl Jones with a bank account and is satisfied that it was not negligent,” the bank said in a statement.   That strikes me as a pretty expensive denial.  Again, no executives were hurt in the issuing of the statement...

All I would like to see is some accountability.  If the activities noted here had been perpetrated by a Branch Manager, she or he would have been thrown under the bus in a heartbeat.  But because the executives are `connected` both fiscally and politically, they are seemingly above the law.  And that is just not right!

If you drive the get away car, you are considered just as guilty as those who actually robbed the store.  So how is it any different for these bank executives?  They endorsed an environment that facilitated the abuses.  How is that any different from driving the car...

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