Financial Regulation: put Dyson in charge

Whilst the great British inventor Sir James Dyson (66) is best known for the Dual Cyclone bagless vacuum cleaner, I think about him most days when in London. Strangely I’ll be in the men’s cloakroom at the time.

Unless in one of the clubs (the RAC comes to mind), or at a top hotel where personal towels are provided, the washing, or more importantly, the drying of one’s hands is a challenge. Most facilities offer a hand drier but it’s never simple:

a) often they are located in a corner or behind the door.

b) to switch them on you have to use your wet hands to press a button and risk infection.

c) the excess water falls on the floor and late in the day you may be standing in a puddle.

Along comes Sir James with his Dyson Airblade hand drier. It’s so simple. You put your wet hands between the two sides: the warm air automatically starts to dry you and the surplus water falls into a trough and is carried away. It is also much quieter.

The clear thinking that Sir James brings to our daily lives is urgently needed in the area of financial regulation. Two examples will illustrate my concerns:

a) This week a company of which I am a director was warned by our adviser that new EU fund management rules applied to our activities and could pose a threat to the directors. Many emails and telephone calls later, we took expensive legal advice paying more for an urgent opinion. Thousands of pounds later we are told the new EU rules do not apply to us.

b) The Chancellor has announced an investigation into the Co-operative Bank. This tells us two things: Mr. Osborne has no idea what to do so he pulls the oldest trick in the book – a Government inquiry. Secondly he should have done so three months ago.

Everybody is investigating the Co-operative Bank. Dr. Cable, the Business Secretary, The Financial Conduct Authority, the Prudential Regulatory Authority, the Bank of England, the Parliamentary Treasury Select Committee, the EU regulators and the police having now arrested the former chairman. The Labour Party will be trying to work out how the save Ed Balls from more embarrassment. There will be further bondholder litigation and more.

I would appoint Sir James Dyson to head up the process. With his commercial acumen and clear thinking he would produce a report within three months and correctly identify culpability.

That won’t happen because a number of those investigating the Co-operative Bank are responsible for the debacle.

It should also be remembered that the Co-operative Bank is (or was) a major supplier of banking services to SMEs.

It’s a farce: I think I’ll wash my hands of it.

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