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Shredded: The Rise and Fall of the Royal Bank of Scotland Hardcover – 1 February 2016
The Royal Bank of Scotland was once one of the most successful and profitable financial institutions in the world; revered, admired andtrusted by millions of savers and investors. A trusted employer for tens of thousands of people, with branches on nearly every high street inthe land. Now, the very mention of the bank’s name causes fury and resentment, and the former CEO, Fred Goodwin, is regarded by manyas the one of the principal culprits of the worst financial crash since 1929.
'A riveting read'-- Joris Luyendijk ― The Guardian
'The definitive account of degenerate financial capitalism'-- Iain Macwhirter ― The Herald
'Tumultuous ... profoundly shocking'-- Kevin McKenna ― The Observer
'Shredded is a magnificent book. I regard it as one of the best investigative books of the past decade'-- Eamonn O'Neill ― BBC Radio Scotland
'A gripping account - RBS was a rogue business, operating in what had become a rogue industry, with the connivance of government. Read it and weep'-- Martin Wolf ― Financial Times
'A model of the journalist's craft, Zola-esque in its broad and unsparing study of corporate hubris and nemesis and haunting in the questions it leaves in its wake'-- Bill Jamieson ― Scotsman
'Impeccably researched and hard to put down at any point - the author pulls no punches'-- Philip Augar ― Financial Times
'Explosive'-- Tom Harper ― Independent on Sunday
'Combines Greek tragedy with real-life events that have affected us all. It's hard to put down'-- Devraj Ray ― Mortgage Strategy
'I don't think I have ever read such a perfect morality tale for our times'-- Iona Bain ― FT Adviser
'The definitive text. I'm thinking of Barbarians at the Gate, about Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and RJR Nabisco. An instant classic'-- Max Keiser ― The Keiser Report
'You should absolutely read Ian Fraser's Shredded. It is probably the definitive work on the British and Irish banks in the Great Bubble and the ensuing Great Financial Crisis'-- Alexander Harrowell ― The Yorkshire Ranter
'Engrossing, fascinating and appalling - a fast-paced and sickeningly-depressing exposition of what can go wrong when corporate governance fails'-- Ruth Bender, Cranfield University
'Magisterial - the most detailed catalogue to date of the errors and misdemeanours leading up to RBS's 2008 collapse and the failure -- in Fraser's view -- to reform the bank in its aftermath'-- Colin Donald ― Herald
'A rattling good read. Hubris, nemesis. Truly shocking'-- Paul Rogerson ― Law Society Gazette
'A manual for understanding banks, the financial crisis, and also corporate greed and hubris'-- P.C. Dettman
'The definitive account of the RBS fiasco. It's an engaging tale of how self-serving bank executives systematically broke the rules, lent with astonishing recklessness, abused customers and got suckered by Wall Street - before dumping their mess on the taxpayers'-- Yves Smith, author of Naked Capitalism
'Nearly six years after the bailout, Shredded reminds us how much of banking reform is still a work in progress'-- Nick Dunbar ― nickdunbar.net
'Ian Fraser has produced a genuine page turner'-- Alex Marsh ― Pieria
'The best financial book I've ever read. Thank you, Ian, for a public service'-- Simon Bain ― Herald
'Not just the definitive book on the collapse of RBS but one of the best five books on the great financial collapse which changed the history of the 21st century. Ian pulls no punches in his conclusions'-- Russell Napier ― CLSA
'This book should be posted through the letterbox of every taxpayer in Britain'-- David Mellor, former Chief Secretary to the Treasury
About the Author
- Publisher : Birlinn (1 February 2016)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 304 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1780271387
- ISBN-13 : 978-1780271385
- Dimensions : 15.88 x 4.57 x 23.5 cm
- Customer Reviews:
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It is interesting to show why politicians get dazzled by money and in effect allowed the banks to write their own rules by persuading politicians of the need to allow something close to a free for all. In the middle of it all is Bill Clinton over in the States who created the conditions that allowed high street and investment banks to merge and become too big to fail and over here his number one fan Tony Blair who had and has little understanding of economics but does have an unhealthy admiration for money and those at the top who control it.
Having set the conditions for inevitable failure - plenty of economists warned that it was going to happen - Brown, Darling and Balls got to work on a bail out that put little onus on the bank to behave in a responsible manner. Even after sucking up billions of tax payers money (the bulk of which we will never see again), staff at the bank were still pursuing one dodgy practice after another.
As a person the left, I was always surprised why Labour let the story run that they had caused the crash given the global nature of the event that is clearly ludicrous but New Labour's love affair with the City was a massive contributing reason. Blair was determined that regulation should be little more than a charade probably in order to demonstrate his avid enthusiasm for Margaret Thatcher's policies. She of course helped create the too big to fail situation with the financial big bang.
I was also struck in this book by the similarities between Fred Goodwin (knighted and feted extensively by Labour) and Blair. Both were intoxicated in their belief that they were always right, never admitted to catastrophic errors even when the facts clearly showed they were wrong and the desire to be surrounded by cronies who would never criticise a thing they did.
It's not even clear if we have learned any lessons. Certainly most of those who caused the problems have not been imprisoned or even charged and slunk off to very comfortable lives.
This is a long book but well written and does not bury the reader in technicalities.
I was particularly keen to read about RBS as opposed to the American companies like JP Morgan and Lehman brothers since this would be from the British side. The book covers the entire history of RBS right back to their start and to well after the 2008 financial crisis giving a great insight into how they had evolved and their awful behaviour even after the crisis. It's well paced giving plenty of detailed information along the way but never gets bogged down keeping it a fairly easy read for someone like myself who isn't well versed in financial matters. I much better understand the fury towards RBS and Fred Goodwin at the time and better understand the government's role in reducing regulation which played its part as well.
This book names names, those who were and are responsible. Most are still in responsible positions. None have appeared before any court of law. Near all still receive salaries the ordinary working man could only dream of... Read more but be aware that your blood pressure might rise considerably, page after, page, after page...
It reads like a novel and the very fact that is all true makes it worrying and very sad. This sadness is all the greater as in the minds of many not enough has been learnt and many of the malpractices so well covered still exist today.
Whilst the biggest crook has be to be Goodwin he was only able to do what he did with the help and wilful blindness of McKillop,Mathewson,Cameron and a heap of others, not forgetting the regulators FSA and DNB who again were caught being asleep at the wheel.Let's also remember the failures of cental bankers like Greenspan and King with their lack of action when it was needed most.
The admission by some of the senior playes at RBS that they didn't really understand the products/risks they were taking is worrying in itself and their lack of contrition in the aftermath of what they did is contemptible.This is very well illustrated in pages 374-5 when at the height of the crisis Goodwin and co were much more preoccupied by feathering their own nests by exercising 'discretion' to bump up their own pay when the bank they had ruined was about the hit the rocks and be bailed out by the taxpayer.
The sad conclusion of these sorry affairs is that the guilty men seem to be able to walk away from the mess they make with little or no censure or penalty ( the loss of a knighthood doesn't begin to do it) and start up again and / or walk the golf course with a big pay off and a fat pension that they have voted to give to themselves !