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September 23, 2009

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Brian Mairs

British Bankers' Association here. Cracking post.

A bit more context abotu Lord Turner's use of a quote from our chairman. Stephen Green's speech in Frankfurt in September can be read in its entirety at http://www.hsbc.com/1/PA_1_1_S5/content/assets/newsroom/090908_speech_frankfurt.pdf.

Stephen Green said:

"At our best, what we do allows businesses to supply products and services that customers need; allows individuals to own homes and cars; to save for a rainy day and for retirement; and to protect themselves and their businesses against the unpredictable. If we care about human freedom and human well-being, we cannot do without these functions.

"But at their worst, financial markets can be engines of destructive excess. In recent years, banks have chased short term profits by introducing complex products of no real use to humanity. It is clear that very many innovations introduced by the financial markets have been socially useful, and indeed are critical to economic and social development to our prosperity, in short.

"But it is equally clear that some parts of our industry had become overblown, and that certain products and services failed the tests of usefulness, suitability and transparency.

"If we are to regain the position of trust and confidence that is a fundamentally important mark of social and economic health, the financial industry will need to learn the lessons of a crisis that has shocked and frightened the world."

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