Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Bankers 'could learn from Olympics'

Sir Mervyn King said the sportsmanship and work ethic displayed by the stars of the London Games needed to be embraced by those in the City

The governor of the Bank of England has urged those in the scandal-hit finance sector to learn lessons from Britain's Olympic heroes.

Sir Mervyn King said the sportsmanship and work ethic displayed by the stars of the London Games needed to be embraced by those plying their trade in the City.

His comments come in the wake of the Libor scandal that has seen Barclays slapped with a £290m fine for manipulating the key benchmark borrowing rate. At least 15 institutions, including Royal Bank of Scotland, are also being investigated over the controversy.

Writing in the Daily Mail, Sir Mervyn said: "For many years, our financial sector sustained the illusion that it was possible to become a millionaire overnight by buying and selling pieces of paper.

"But we have seen how paper fortunes in financial markets can disappear overnight. Things need to change."

He added: "As recent scandals have shown, banks could learn a thing or two about fair play from the Olympic movement."

Sir Mervyn said the British economy could learn a number of key lessons from the Games

"First, and most important, we have been reminded that an objective that is worth attaining, like a gold medal, requires years of hard work. Success does not come overnight," he said.

"That is as true of our economy as it is of sport.

"It means reforming our banking system so that banks focus less on making money in the short term, and more on building businesses to serve their customers' interests over the longer term."