When Albrechtsen and I agree, Ken Henry must go

Because I agree with Janet on nothing but this:

…last week former Treasury boss, now National Australia Bank chairman, Ken Henry delivered a pretentious and prolix lecture, pointing the finger for corporate misdeeds at “the state of capitalism”.

“The capitalist model is that businesses have no responsibility other than to maximise profits to shareholders,” he said. And public tolerance for this model of accountability had been pretty well eroded, he concluded. In other words, we need a new model. Out with capitalism. In with, well, who knows what? Henry’s claims will have nanny-state interventionists clamouring for “reform” — aka, another layer of regulation to be added to the layers and layers already on the books.

Here are a few alternative explanations for corporate wrongdoing. One is simply bad behaviour by people who have lost sight of a simple truth: treating customers well goes to the core of their business model.

The other explanation is that companies behaved badly because they could. In other words, hopelessly inadequate law enforcement by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission. ASIC has been more intent on doing deals with banks than enforcing the law on behalf of customers and shareholders.

Too right. And the only ways to rectify it is those at the top get boned.

Time to go, Ken.

David Llewellyn-Smith
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  1. I watched his testimony last week. I came away thinking what a pompous tool. He had this self righteous air about him, the muppet.

  2. Henry has been full of himself for years.

    A full and complete devotee of the neoliberal project over the last 40 years and now completing his tour of duty with a comfy gig at one of the key stakeholders in the state/private monetary model.

    But there are plenty of apologists for the current role of private banks in our monetary system so perhaps I am being a little harsh……just kidding.


  3. Looks like the right time to get back into banking. Shit everywhere means lots of opportunities for the right people.
    I worked at CBA during enforceable undertaking on comminsure and CFS. Money machine and you get the fire some cvnts! May return from the US a year early!

  4. Jumping jack flash

    ” Out with capitalism. In with, well, who knows what?”
    No, no, no.. There’s nothing wrong with capitalism. It gets things done. The problem is greed. Ken is right, however they’re both barking up the wrong tree.

    The only real solution is for the government to have skin in the game to keep the market honest. They can manipulate the markets directly that way.

    Regulation isn’t the answer, it doesn’t work. All you’ll get is corruption and then Royal Commissions into everything. Tedious. Annoying. Expensive. Look to the banks to see how well that works out.

    The answer is for the government to re-enter the game as a player, steer it the way they want, and win. Let the market operate as a market should – after manipulation by the government, of course.

    Of course the pollies might start needing to actually do their jobs. For instance, the minister for energy may need to actually learn how to generate electricity and manage power stations, and the minister for banking and finance may need to run a real bank.
    Jobs and growth! Apprenticeships for the young to work at the government-owned companies. Fair pay. Perks in lieu of high wages, eg, relocation and accommodation for workers, tax exempt payments, etc.

    Failure will be treated as any other failure in the private sector – you lose your job and it gets given to someone who can do it. Including the pollie at the top. Shock horror, the pollies will suddenly be accountable and responsible for something to earn their voluminous pay…

    So I can see why this idea wouldn’t get traction. At all.

    • I reckon you just have a pure play government entity in every key sector (if our market is big enough to sustain them).

      Don’t hybridise either as Govt/Corp entities end up hoolding the worst elements of both worlds.

      If I want a cheap, low cost, boring conservative retail banker I choose gov. If I want all the ‘text book’ benefits of a privately run option then I get to see how one actually looks in the real world against the govt option and I’m free to choose.

      How many Aussies actually want the bs offered by most private banks? Give me a simple and safe bank any day, that just does simple banking. People who just want to get their pay and spend and save it with a safe bank.

      If you put your money anywhere else then you know what you are getting yourself in for, it is your risk and no bailouts!

  5. F’ken Henry is also on the board of directors of ASX and a couple of its subsidiaries. Funnily enough given his woeful effort at the rc regarding risk recognition and management he sits on their risk and audit committee. Part-time gamekeeper, full-time poacher.

    “Dr Ken Henry was appointed a director of ASX in February 2013. He is a member of the Audit and Risk Committee.
    Dr Henry is a director of ASX Clear Pty Limited and ASX Settlement Pty Limited, the ASX clearing and settlement licensees for Australia’s equity markets, and their intermediate holding companies.”

    • Spending time with too many zeros distorts a person from the reality of life.

      Basically, he’s spent too long, too close to the problem. He has now become part of the problem.
      Its a form of wealth contagion.