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Davos: Most eye-opening banking quotes from the World Economic Forum

Davos

The annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland officially kicked off today. As always, the cast of characters invited to this year’s event is wide-ranging. Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein are there; so are Matt Damon, Bono and Goldie Hawn, who’s set to give a speech on meditation and “mindfulness.”

Every year, politicians, business leaders and banking bosses beat the drum, dolling out advice for how we should attack economic issues, among other worldly concerns. While there are plenty of clichés tossed around, you’ll hear some eye-openers as well. Below are some of the most interesting quotes of the last half-decade. Dimon, as always, shoots from the hip. Hopefully we’ll have more to share over the next few days.

“Businesses can be opaque. They’re complex. You don’t know how aircraft engines work either.” JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, 2013

“It’s not so much that they will bypass us. I think they are going to run us over.” Jacob Wallenberg, Chairman, Investor AB, speaking of emerging markets, 2011

“It is quite clear that some of the compensation models at these firms have to be not just incrementally changed but completely overhauled.” – Duncan Niederauer, chief executive NYSE Euronext, 2009

“I just think this constant refrain ‘bankers, bankers, bankers,’ – it’s just a really unproductive and unfair way of treating people. And I just think people should just stop doing that.” – JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, 2011

“Banks have clearly done things wrong. Some of the practices did not contribute, by any reasonable standards, to human welfare.” – Stephen Green, former chairman of HSBC, 2009

“We will continue to make our economy run risks greater than it can bear, to encourage speculation and to sacrifice our long-term future, if we do not change the regulation of our banking system and the rules for accounting.” – French President Nicolas Sarkozy, 2010

“I’m glad that this time we did not cause it.” Guillermo Ortiz, former governor of the Bank of Mexico, talking about the economic crisis, 2008

“What you see is what you get. If you don’t see it, it will get you.” – Jacob Frenkel, vice chairman of AIG, talking about the need for transparency in the banking system, 2008

“I see a certain risk that those that were not damaged when the waves came in will be damaged when the waves go out.” – Walter Kielholz, chairman of the supervisory board and former CEO of Credit Suisse, 2008

“Part of the challenge has been that as regulation of financial institutions has become more refined, it has inadvertently created incentive for regulatory arbitrage.” – Malcom Knight, former general manager and CEO, Bank of International Settlements, 2008

“Yes banks we took too much risk…but we took much risk because the situation was such that everyone enjoyed the life, the governments, the regulators, the bankers…the people.” JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, 2013

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