Monday, March 09, 2009

How not to lose money

I was at a 21st Birthday party on Saturday night with a 20's theme which was great fun if you like that sort of thing.
In view of the present crisis, the talk amongst the older people was all of the crunch, but the younger ones, nicely padded by their parents, didn't seem too bothered.
I was sitting beside an accountant who was fulminating about RBS and HBOS in particular, and the banks in general.
It's a story we have all heard time and again, but he recalled when he was an articled clerk in his early days, earning £65 per annum and damned lucky to get it too. He used to pop into the famous Horseshoe Bar where various other youngsters, including trainee stockbrokers, sometimes gathered. I rather fancy at the time these particular young men had to pay to get trained.
One evening one of the stockbrokers said to the trainee accountant that XYZ Rubber Company was an absolute certainty to go up dramatically, and he should definitely buy shares. Not having any money, he popped into his local Bank of Scotland at 110 St.Vincent Street in Glasgow and asked to speak to the manager. You could still do that in those days. It became a pub,but has now reverted....
Of course, he didn't actually get to THE Manager, but to one of his underling deputies - who were all probably at least 50 and had been with the bank since they were 16.
It was a bit like Oliver asking for more.
" Please sir can I have £50 please?"
I can see the picture - the greying sagacious banker would look over his spectacles with a light frown.
" And what, pray, is this money for?"
" Well sir, one of my friends is a stockbroker and he has given me a tip on XYZ Rubber."
There would be a pause.
" Young man, we are the Bank of Scotland. We have a fiduciary duty to our depositors first and foremost to lend their money to worthwhile and profitable enterprises. It is NOT our job to lend money to worthless young men for inappropriate speculation. Good day,sir!"
Shame they forgot that.