Review of Philip Augar Chasing Alpha (Bodley Head, £20)
It is rare to find the causes for a national disaster encapsulated in the dull prose of an obscure measure. Helpfully, a concise explanation of why you and your children will be paying for the collapse of the banking and housing bubble into the 2020s are set out in the clauses of the 2001 Financial Services and Markets Act.
The Financial Services Authority was not “to discourage the launch of new financial products”, the government said as it laid down the terms of trade for London’s banks and hedge funds.
The FSA had to avoid “erecting regulatory barriers”, it continued, “must consider the international mobility of the financial business” and “avoid damaging the UK’s competitiveness”.
Dwell on those instructions for a moment and think of the consequences.
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