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Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Stephen Hester speaks to the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards in a still image taken from video, in London February 11, 2013.
Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Stephen Hester speaks to the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards in a still image taken from video, in London February 11, 2013.
(Reuters TV/Reuters)

CARL MORTISHED

U.K. Parliament report excoriates crisis-era banking

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If you want to know what went wrong with the banks, you could not find a better answer than in the report of the U.K. Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, published today. It is an evisceration of the masters of the universe, their acolytes, apologists, regulators and shareholders in 1,200 trenchant paragraphs. The rotting entrails of the banks are exposed to view and there are useful recommendations for reform. But even within the report itself lies the admission that we may have already moved on. As governments prepare shackles and muzzles for errant bankers, including, as the Commission recommends, prison sentences for reckless behaviour, the world of “shadow banking” offers a luxurious haven for refugees from worrisome regulation.