“Friends, comrades, non-countrymen, good morning one and all.
Today I take over from our departing leader, Stephen Hester. Stephen has gone to tend his topiary and I know you are secretly glad that this is the case. For Stephen was a wolf in sheep’s clothing – an ex-investment banker who treated his markets comrades like a huntsman would a frightened fox. During Stephen’s reign, your ranks were reduced from 24,000 at their highest point, to just 11,300 now. A bloodbath!! Under Stephen, our most talented fixed income traders escaped into the undergrowth, your pay was slashed and your Christmas parties were cancelled.
It’s time for a change.
Now, I know that Bruce Van Saun – our ex-numbers man – boasted a little bit about Stephen’s harsh legacy only last week when he made a presentation about the future of our bank. I also know that Bruce said that he wanted to chop another another £900m or so in costs (33% of the total) from your beloved markets business sometime soon. I know too that Bruce said that our main focus now is on being ‘a really good bank’, a genuinely lovely place, and on helping 25,000 homebuyers with the government’s right to buy scheme in the style of Fannie and Freddie (because that went so well). I know, therefore, that you may fear that your days are numbered and your bonuses will be non-existent.
Fear not. As of today, Bruce has been replaced by Nathan Bostock. And as you Nathan has a background in wholesale markets and risk. Take no notice of the fact that I’ve spent my first morning visiting entrepreneurs and talking about what a customer-focused chap I am. Look away when the third quarter performance of our fixed income salespeople and traders is revealed to have been a bit dreadful. Disregard the problems presented by the Independent Commission on Banking, Basel III and MiFID II. I may be mostly a retail banker, but I am on top of all of this. I love you all and will pay you accordingly. After all, you generated 11% of our profits in the first half – I honestly don’t mind that this was down from 26% in the first half of 2012…”*
*This is entirely fabricated.