2011年11月14日 07:28 AM
What Bob Diamond really tells us about the City
A widely noted speech last week by Bob Diamond, chief executive of Barclays, coincided with the 25th anniversary of Big Bang, the great shake up of the structure of the City Of London. The transformation of the man who had told the world the time for remorse was over into the figure who pleaded for more public understanding of his industry was widely noted.
前不久，正當倫敦金融城(City Of London)歡慶“金融大爆炸”（Big Bang，即金融城結構大改革）25週年之際，巴克萊(Barclays)首席執行官鮑博•戴蒙德(Bob Diamond )發表的一個講話引起了廣泛的關注。這個曾告誡世人停止懊悔的人，如今卻在請求民眾對金融業多一點理解，這種轉變吸引了許多人的注意。
But Mr Diamond's emergence as the public face of the City is a measure of another transformation. Britain's indigenous investment banking industry has all but disappeared, while a US investment banker is now in charge of one of its largest retail banks. Investment banks have declined, while investment bankers have grown in power, influence – and remuneration. This is perhaps the most startling of the many consequences of Big Bang.
The changes implemented in and around 1986 involved a mixture of deregulation and re-regulation. The conventions that had governed behaviour, largely tacit, were embedded in the English class system that governed recruitment.
But now the informal value driven culture, whose ultimate sanction was famously described as the raised eyebrow of the governor of the Bank of England, was replaced by an extensive rulebook. The gates of the City were opened to comprehensive school boys, and girls, and to foreigners who might not even recognise the Governor, far less appreciate the significance of his raised eyebrow.
但如今，極其詳盡的規則手冊取代了過去那種不正規的實用主義文化。關於這種文化有種著名的說法：最終能不能通過，全看英國央行(Bank of England)行長的眼色。改革之後，倫敦金融城的大門向所有人敞開了，包括普通的中學生，也包括那些老外——他們連行長什麼樣都不知道，更別提看懂行長的眼色了。
Clever graduates and foreigners came in droves. Merchant banks, as they were once called, had always been the aristocrats of the financial system. One by one they were wiped out. US investment banks, now free to expand their London operations, were more professional and more aggressive. Blue-blooded names such as Kleinwort Benson and Morgan Grenfell sought comfort in European retail banks. Barings blew up. Warburg, the meritocratic institution best placed to survive the foreign onslaught, stumbled and fell into the arms of Swiss Bank Corporation. Of the old names, only firms such as Lazard and Rothschild, which have retreated into niche positions, remain.
無數聰明的大學畢業生和外國人來到了金融城。英國的投資銀行一度被稱為商人銀行(Merchant bank)，它們一直在金融體系中保持著高高在上的地位。可後來這些商人銀行一個接一個地倒下了。如今美國的投資銀行可以自由擴展它們在倫敦的業務，這些銀行更專業，也更雄心勃勃。佳活賓信(Kleinwort Benson)和摩根•格倫費爾(Morgan Grenfell)等出身高貴的老字號，只滿足於在歐洲經營一些零售銀行。巴林銀行(Barings)倒了。施行精英式管理、最有能力抵擋外資入侵的華寶銀行(Warburg)也栽了，被瑞士銀行公司(Swiss Bank Corporation)收入旗下。在那些老字號中，只有一些轉向利基市場的銀行生存了下來，比如瑞德集團(Lazard)和羅斯柴爾德(Rothschild)。
Thus US banks came to dominate London's wholesale markets in financial services. Even those activities which were not undertaken by US institutions were conducted in the transactions-oriented style the Americans had developed. But that same aggression and greed created reputational issues that steadily eroded the numbers of US banks. Drexel failed: Salomon, Bankers Trust, CSFB were absorbed into larger institutions. By the beginning of the last decade the number of major independent investment banks worldwide had been reduced to five, all of them American. The crisis of 2008 would claim the scalps of three.
就這樣，美國的銀行最終統領了倫敦的批發銀行業務。即便是那些沒有被美國金融機構拿下的業務，也開始採用美國人那種著眼於交易的業務風格。但這種追名逐利和貪婪同樣引發了一些信譽問題，美國不斷有銀行因為這些問題而倒下。德崇證券(Drexel)倒閉了，所羅門兄弟(Salomon)、信孚銀行(Bankers Trust)和瑞士信貸第一波士頓(CSFB)則被一些更大的金融機構吞併了。到本世紀初，全世界重量級獨立投資銀行只剩下五家，全部都是美國的。 2008年金融危機爆發後，又有三家壯烈犧牲。
At Big Bang market makers, brokers, discount houses and asset managers had been acquired by retail banks. These purchases were unsuccessful. Retail banks are necessarily large bureaucracies. Their success depends on processing millions of transactions every day to common standards with a very high degree of accuracy. These requirements fit uneasily with the entrepreneurial buccaneering culture required for, and by, those who trade financial assets.
If investment banks found life tough without the organisational and financial cushion of a retail bank, and retail banks could not control investment banks, the solution was clear: investment bankers would control retail banks. Smarter, greedier and more ambitious than their colleagues who had worked their way through the branch network, investment bankers seized control of conglomerates brought into being by Big Bang, the relaxation and repeal of Glass-Steagall, and the reinvention of continental Europe's universal banks on Anglo-Saxon lines.
In 2011, the chief executives of three of Britain's four large banks, like their counterparts at Citigroup, Deutsche, and UBS, are men who have built their careers in investment banking. When António Horta-Osório of Lloyds returns to health, it will be four out of four. When the titans of global finance today exchange reminiscences, only one man has different stories to tell: Brian Moynihan of Bank of America, who was in charge of consumer and small business banking before he assumed the post of chief executive. Would anyone like to take a bet on the likely background of Mr Moynihan's successor?
2011年，在英國的四大銀行中，有三家的首席執行官都是從投資銀行業務中成長起來的。花旗集團(Citigroup)、德意志銀行(Deutsche)和瑞銀(UBS)也是這種情況。等因健康原因正在休假的勞埃德(Lloyds)首席執行官安東尼奧•奧爾塔-奧索里奧(António Horta-Osório)返回工作崗位，我們就可以說四大銀行的首席執行官都是如此了。現如今，如果所有全球金融業巨頭們聚到一起、共同回憶往日做投資銀行業務時的往事，那麼，只有一個人找不到共同語言，這個人就是美國銀行(Bank of America)的首席執行官布賴恩•莫伊尼漢(Brian Moynihan)。在擔任首席執行官之前，莫伊尼漢負責的是個人業務和小企業業務。而莫伊尼漢的繼任者會是怎樣的背景，有人想打個賭嗎？