Britons: bankers less ethical than tabloid hacks


9:30 am - July 9th 2012

by Sunny Hundal    


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Bankers are officially are the most hated profession in the country – worse than estate agents and car salesmen.

They’re now seen as having less ethics or principles than even tabloid journalists, according to a poll by YouGov for the Sunday Times yesterday

77% of people thought that bankers generally had no ethics or principles. 50% rate at the bottom of the scale.

Estate agents and car salesmen weren’t seen as particularly ethical or principled, but better than bankers (54% and 57% respectively).

The only respite? Britons were asked by the YouGov poll to compare politicians fiddling their expenses, journalists hacking phones or banks lying about their interest rates.

36% of people thought politicians were the worst, 34% the bankers and 24% chose phone-hacking journalists as the worst.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


The bankers were and are at least rational – they stood to make a great deal more money by way of bankers’ bonuses than the rewards the hacking journos and their editors made.

We can only marvel as to why anyone thought it worth while to hack the Royal answerphones to gather knowledge of Prince William’s unpublicised minor knee injury – which is what started the original prosecutions of the NoW royal editor, Goodman, and the hired private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire.

The wonder is that the NoW editor at the time reportedly knew absolutely nothing as to why Mulcaire was being paid an annual retainer of more than £100,000 for doing whatever he did. At least the bankers had better informed motivation and a clearer vision about the potential personal rewards.

2. Chaise Guevara

@ 1 Bob B

“We can only marvel as to why anyone thought it worth while to hack the Royal answerphones to gather knowledge of Prince William’s unpublicised minor knee injury – which is what started the original prosecutions of the NoW royal editor, Goodman, and the hired private investigator, Glenn Mulcaire.”

Did they hack in with the specific goal of finding out about the knee injury? Or did they hack in hoping to get hold of stories about sex, lies and videotape and end up with nothing but a boring old knee injury for their efforts?

Chaise: “Or did they hack in hoping to get hold of stories about sex, lies and videotape and end up with nothing but a boring old knee injury for their efforts?”

You are right, of course. But making a tabloid news story out of a minor knee injury is what led on to the unravelling of not only the whole sordid systematic hacking business by journalists but public insight into the regular practice of bribing the police and other officials to get – often trivial – news leaks.

A modicum of reflection on the part of Goodman and Mulcaire could have led them to think through the implications of going to press with a thoroughly trivial and previously unpublicised story about a minor Royal knee injury. Could there be repercussions from the Royals – as, indeed, there were?

What the bankers got up to is certainly symptomatic of rampant greed and the rational and mostly lawful pursuit of the potential for personal gain with more-or-less Free Market Capitalism but it also indicates well-informed intelligence and a profound understanding of arcane aspects of financial services markets which remain mysteries to most of us – try explaining interest rate swap derivatives to normal folk – or the Black-Scholes formula

What strikes me about the journos and the hacking is not only how dumb most of the news gathered by hacking was but how dumb are/were both the journos and their editors. It tells us something when one of them was then appointed Director of Government Communications based in Downing St.

4. Shatterface

Where do tabloid readers rank?

I mean, we have no choice about having to use a bank but nobody forces you to buy newspapers.

5. Chaise Guevara

@ Bob B

Agreed – the hackers would have been a lot better off to limit themselves to stories that might have conceviably been leaked by an insider, or true public interest stuff where they might get away with hacking for the greater good.

I’m uncomfortable with propositions of the kind that “bankers are less/more ethical than (?all) tabloid hacks” for many reasons, including the implied smear of all tabloid hacks regardless as well as the implicit claim that departures from some unspecified standard of higher morality are measurable.

Hacking answerphone mailboxes is illegal but so is mis-selling by banks of payment protection insurance and interest rate swap insurance against the possibility of a rise in interest rates where the premiums rise when interest rates rise. Judging by this evening’s news, there are now pervasive doubts about how much other market information supplied by banks is dependable.

Let’s not overlook insider trading. A little noticed recent news report – with the FSA’s increased monitoring of stockmarkets: “Trading before deals hits decade low”
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/0853fa3e-b9e7-11e1-937b-00144feabdc0.html#axzz209qmxsQA

The received wisdom based on frequent observation was that the share prices of companies subject to takeover bids rise before notice of the bids is made public – which is symptomatic of either insider trading or shrewd speculation.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
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  2. Kevin Donovan

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  3. Vic Forte

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  4. jon ???????

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  5. sunny hundal

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  6. Mark Silver

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  7. @GrannyWils

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  8. Jason Brickley

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  9. leftlinks

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  10. post cromwell

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  11. RupertRead

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  12. News Frames

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  13. Christina Ross

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  14. Yasha Jai Lakshmi

    LOL!! "@sunny_hundal: Hah! Britons now think bankers are less ethical than even tabloid journalists who hack phones http://t.co/7142YR8x"

  15. sunny hundal

    77% of Britons think bankers generally have no ethics or principles. Estate agents do way better http://t.co/99ZeBGQy

  16. Symon Hill

    77% of Britons think bankers generally have no ethics or principles. Estate agents do way better http://t.co/99ZeBGQy

  17. Mark Longbottom

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  18. MerseyMal

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  19. Robert Beard

    77% of Britons think bankers generally have no ethics or principles. Estate agents do way better http://t.co/99ZeBGQy

  20. BritishJosh

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  21. OCCUPYLOCALGOVT

    77% of Britons think bankers generally have no ethics or principles. Estate agents do way better http://t.co/99ZeBGQy

  22. Tiernan Douieb

    Poll says 77% of Brits think bankers have no ethics or principals. The other 23% have low interest in the matter http://t.co/rRxxbpoE

  23. Foxy52

    77% of Britons think bankers generally have no ethics or principles. Estate agents do way better http://t.co/99ZeBGQy

  24. joy johnson

    77% of Britons think bankers generally have no ethics or principles. Estate agents do way better http://t.co/99ZeBGQy

  25. Specter of Derrida

    77% of Britons think bankers generally have no ethics or principles. Estate agents do way better http://t.co/99ZeBGQy

  26. Jon Tulloch

    Britons: bankers less ethical than tabloid hacks | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/3ZYQ7q4n via @libcon

  27. Christian Arffmann

    77% of Britons think bankers generally have no ethics or principles. Estate agents do way better http://t.co/99ZeBGQy

  28. Hali_K

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  29. Threadbare Panda

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  30. INDIEpendent Youth

    77% of Britons think bankers generally have no ethics or principles. Estate agents do way better http://t.co/C01p9s9a

  31. Ian wingrove

    77% of Britons think bankers generally have no ethics or principles. Estate agents do way better http://t.co/99ZeBGQy

  32. Jonathan Wood

    Hah! Britons now think bankers are less ethical than even tabloid journalists who hack phones http://t.co/99ZeBGQy

  33. Simon Chouffot

    poll shows 77% of Britons think bankers worse than estate agents and tabloid journalists. via @libcon http://t.co/aA7woWwQ

  34. holly black

    poll shows 77% of Britons think bankers worse than estate agents and tabloid journalists. via @libcon http://t.co/aA7woWwQ

  35. BevR

    Britons: bankers less ethical than tabloid hacks | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/xKgpw9aX via @libcon

  36. David Kent

    Bankers officially 'less ethical' than politicians and tabloid hacks! http://t.co/NcNorYdS

  37. tabloidman

    @PeterMediaPR @TVKev @theboylatch Mind you we at least have politicans and bankers to thank for looking down on some1 http://t.co/9nTwCZYi





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