Save the best until last.

Bank recapitalisation is looking more likely for several Irish players, however, an important precedent must be observed – we saved the weakest first and therefore we will almost invariably need to save the best.

The ongoing Anglo debacle is evidence that we opted to get behind a bank that had falsely represented its balance sheet, over exposed itself to high risk clients and run short of money. So we saved the weakest, and that sets the foundation for saving the strongest. The idea that we should only save strong banks never gained traction and that is unfortunate. The State is being left to foot the bill now, is this fair?

Capitalism is being blamed for the current crisis, banks are also being blamed, but what about Governments? What was their role?

Monetary excess is often the cause of the boom and thus the bust, both the Fed and the ECB kept rates artificially low for far too long, Ireland entered the Euro and availed of low rates and high liquidity that was in …

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Regulatory distortion of the market, intervention required.

The Financial Regulator has been under increased scrutiny and for that reason it is probably a good idea if they take steps to ensure a fair and transparent marketplace, because the current public sentiment is that they have not performed their job as well as they should have. From the point of view of the intermediary channel, there are marketplace distortions that are actually harming customers and we have explained this via broker representative bodies but to no avail.

The issue currently causing problems is that of dual pricing/dual offerings. This occurs where a bank has one price if you go direct, and another if you go through a broker, or where they offer incentives via one channel that cannot be matched in another. The danger is that independence of advice is under threat when there are ‘teasers’ involved through any channel that diminishes the potential for multi-institution advice.

If banks were willing to compete across all distribution channels equally it would be one thing, but they are not, in fact, …

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