In a nutshell, it’s because they’re paid well to keep their mouths shut, writes Joris Luyendijk.
I had always thought of ”bankers” as one homogeneous group, but having interviewed dozens of people in finance over the past few months, I now realise it is a vast and extremely diverse sector.
A director in mergers and acquisitions involved in buying and selling of companies is very far from sub-prime and sovereign debt.
But if the sector is so diverse, why do those in the ”safe” parts allow the risk-takers to play with fire? In short, where are the whistleblowers?
Think of all those people at Lehman Brothers who were in divisions that had nothing to do with the crisis. They still lost their jobs when it collapsed. Is it not in the self-interest of insiders to raise the alarm about those at their bank who risked – and may still be risking – the house?
After four months of interviews this is my theory: people in finance are under-protected and overpaid, and trapped in a lifestyle that makes it easy to buy their silence.
”People just disappear. They’re called in, fired and led out of the building by security. And you don’t get info on who has been made redundant…” That’s how a major US bank in London lays people off, according to an IT analyst there.