I don't know whether, how or by whom Barclay's was advised in what's now being billed as 'banking's tobacco moment'. But I do know that it appears that lack of objective 'outsider' advice over how to handle the LIBOR scandal has both compounded negative fallout and provided a(nother) scary confirmation of how far off course an entire industry can steer when it loses sight of accepted moral touchstones.
Because the fact is, even for those with the best of intentions there's real danger in making judgements using only the sounding board of one's own peers. Consulting only those whose interests are closely aligned with your own is a great way to get the answers you want. It's also a great way of cementing yourself into a giant, artificial bubble which, when it bursts - as bubbles do - is likely to create one giant hell of a mess.
The morals of the story are many. But I am highlighting just one. If in doubt, don't close ranks. Instead, throw open the doors to objective counsel and trusted 'outsiders' who can provide fresh perspectives. At best, they can help you stay a 'due north' course. Should the worst happen, they can help you minimise the mess.
Sniff the 'Rotten heart of finance' at http://www.economist.com/node/21558281
Mis-step with Barclays and the FSA at
Become an instant LIBOR savant at www.accountingdegree.net/numbers/libor.php
Kaitlin Walsh is BlueChip Communication's Director of Client Strategy & Content