Better the convert

Posted on

I can't resist recording this from Adair Turner's speech as chair of the Financial Services Authority this week:

Not all innovation is equally useful. If by some terrible accident the world lost the knowledge required to manufacture one of our major drugs or vaccines, human welfare would be seriously harmed. If the instructions for creating a 'CDO-squared' [a credit derivative manufactured out of other derivatives] have now been mislaid, we will, I think, get along quite well without.

And in the years running up to 2007, too much of the developed world's intellectual talent was devoted to ever more complex financial innovations, whose maximum possible benefit was at best marginal, and which in their complexity and opacity created large financial stability risks.

Shame that in some of previous incarnations he did not say the same things with the more clarity. He was, after all, vice-chair of Merrill Lynch in Europe 2000 - 2006, where he could have done much to stop such things. But better the convert I guess.