Alex Brazier: Citizens in service, not people in power

Speech by Mr Alex Brazier, Executive Director for Financial Stability Strategy and Risk of the Bank of England, at Allen & Overy, London, 17 May 2019.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
17 May 2019

I'd like to express my thanks to Allen & Overy for hosting this event and for bringing together such a formidable crowd to discuss these issues.

More than a decade on from the financial crisis, memories can begin to fade.

They must not. Because the crisis was a disaster: leaving a legacy economic cost equivalent to about £20,000 per person.

Like all disasters, it should be memorialised so that future generations are not destined to repeat the past.

It's sometimes argued that the crisis happened because nobody spotted that the system was heading for the rocks.

I think the causes run deeper than that. They centre on a collective failure to take the long view. The financial system lived for the moment.

Those that reaped profits and bonus today but would be bailed out tomorrow had every incentive to live for the moment and figure out the rest later.

That may not have mattered so much if regulation of that system had taken the long view and had prepared it for bad times, whenever they came and whatever caused them.

But it didn't.