Slí Eile: Nyberg, McCarthy, Doherty and Chopra..a busy fortnight past. Don't miss the following item in the Irish Times of Thursday 21st ("Massive bonuses for bankers? Not for those equitable Swedes'). It tells a story about one bank - in the UK but Swedish in ownership.
We are different, even in Sweden. This boils down to a fundamental humanist view. We believe that if you put trust in people, people will respond in a positive way and take responsibility and deliver results that they would not have achieved in a command-and-control environmentso said Anders Bouvin, head of Swedish bank Handelsbanken operation in the UK.
Now the Swedes know something about banking from the collapse and response of Government, there, in the 1990s. Whether an enterprise is publicly or privately owned, the way it is run, led, held accountable and focussed is all important. How ironic it is that as public debate is being prepared for a sell-off of profitable (but 'non strategic') public assets, the citizenry have been buying up dud assets and liabilities in the top Irish banks - only to be rationalised, sold off and outsourced to others who may buy in the fullness of time. And in the meantime some creditors are getting away scot free as are some who continue to benefit from the bonus culture. The problem with the way the Nyberg Report has been taken up is that 'we are all to blame' is far to convenient a means of deflecting attention from those in positions of leadership, influence, power and responsibility to escape the consequences of their actions.
Reforming the way organisations are run - public, private, voluntary - is vital along with striking the right balance between public, private and voluntary ownership of assets.