An article in the timesonline.co.uk with some of Paul Volcker's comments to a conference of senior level bankers late last year.
...a clearly irritated Mr Volcker said that the biggest innovation in the industry over the past 20 years had been the cash machine. He went on to attack the rise of complex products such as credit default swaps (CDS).
"I wish someone would give me one shred of neutral evidence that financial innovation has led to economic growth — one shred of evidence," said Mr Volcker...
He said that financial services in the United States had increased its share of value added from 2 per cent to 6.5 per cent, but he asked: "Is that a reflection of your financial innovation, or just a reflection of what you're paid?"
Also, here are some of Volcker's comments from a separate article in the telegraph.co.uk covering the same event. He told some of the world's most senior financiers...
...that their industry's "single most important" contribution in the last 25 years has been automatic telling machines, which he said had at least proved "useful".
Mr Volcker told delegates who had been discussing how to rebuild the financial system to "wake up". He said credit default swaps and collateralised debt obligations had taken the economy "right to the brink of disaster" and added that the economy had grown at "greater rates of speed" during the 1960s without such products.
Mr Volcker argued that banks did have a vital role to play as holders of deposits and providers of credit. This importance meant it was correct that they should be "regulated on one side and protected on the other". He said riskier financial activities should be limited to hedge funds to whom society could say: "If you fail, fail. I'm not going to help you..."
Well said, Mr. Volcker.
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