Late one night 20 years ago, when I was an oil executive rather than an Anglican bishop, I had run out of steam and patience toward the end of a complex multinational acquisition. We came to yet another bit of box ticking and I suggested we skip it, because we knew the material was accurate.
We have argued that if banks had much more equity, the financial system would be safer, healthier and less distorted. From society’s perspective, the benefits are large and the costs are hard to find; there are virtually no trade-offs.
The British government commission that convenes tomorrow is unlikely to propose breaking up the country’s biggest banks after three of the five biggest lenders threatened to leave the country rather than accept change.