x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Bank culture is: 'Heads I win, tails you lose'

Letters to the editor

A reader writes to agree with the comment article written by a Zayed University student who complained about the standards of dress on campus. Manuel Salazar / The National
A reader writes to agree with the comment article written by a Zayed University student who complained about the standards of dress on campus. Manuel Salazar / The National

I refer to the business article Bailed-out UK banks 'need to pay bonuses' (January 28). When the banks do well, their employees are paid well. When the banks do poorly, their employees are paid well. When the banks do very poorly, they are bailed out by taxpayers and their employees are still paid well as per the new "Heads I win, tails you lose" bank bonus culture. The excuse given by Robin Budenberg, the chief executive of UK Financial Investments (UKFI), that they have to pay bonuses otherwise they wouldn't be able to keep such talented staff, is complete nonsense. If their current talent pool leads them to such huge losses, perhaps they need to start looking for some different people anyway.

Not a penny in bonuses should be paid out until the entire government bailout debt plus interest has been repaid in full.

In the past, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) received widespread condemnation from UK taxpayers after its decision to pay £1.3 billion (Dh7.3 billion) in bonuses after reporting an annual loss of £3.6 billion in spite of receiving a record-breaking £45.5 billion in of taxpayers' money at the height of the global financial crisis in 2008.

According to the World Bank, of the nearly 100 banking crises that have occurred internationally during the last 20 years, all were resolved by bailouts at taxpayer expense. It's the taxpayer who should be receiving a bonus for bailing the banks out of trouble. If these bankers think they deserve a bonus for losing billions, how much will they want for making a profit?

Malik Mohammad Tariq, Dubai

Entrepreneurs are their own experts

Further to the business article Time to get down to business (January 29) by Caline Malek, may I suggest that when it comes to entrepreneurs the last people aspiring businessmen and women should listen to are the "experts". They should first ask the question "What are they trying to sell?"

Academics sell their courses. Consultants sell their services, just as advertisers sell space. No one is interested in your business ideas or your success or failure. They have a business to run.

The first thing an entrepreneur learns is not to trust anyone. Certainly not the banks, solicitors or accountants. If you want to ride a bicycle, don't go on a course. Get on, fall off, get on again. A course teaches you management. An entrepreneur is not a manager. He's the boss. There is absolutely no one above him to tell him what to do or how to do it. You are born an entrepreneur, you don't learn to become one. However, what would help is an apprenticeship system. So would the basic rules of the game and tricks of the trade plus a couple of inspirational talks by local high flyers.

Come on, you entrepreneurs, just get on and do it and remember, there is no such thing as failure. Every mistake is something newly learned and if you're not making mistakes, then you're not learning.

Mark Wheeler, Abu Dhabi

A dubious green shade to stadium

In reference to Wasps owner finds inspiration from Abu Dhabi's Masdar City (January 29), building a football stadium on a pristine green-belt (land enshrined in order to halt urban sprawl) rather than redeveloping the perfectly acceptable (never full) Adams Park is not a green argument but mere bandwagon-jumping. There is nothing green about this proposal and it is patronising to disguise it as such.

Ed Silvester, UK

Steve Hayes wants to build a nice new stadium. That's fine, if he spends his own money on it. Unfortunately it will be the taxpayers who will pay for it, since the local council has agreed to sell off council-owned land in order to fund Hayes's dream. Adams Park is plenty big enough for Wasps and could be enlarged if necessary. For Hayes to play the "green" card is just another tactic in his bid to make money by selling Adams Park.This project faces massive local opposition and should be stopped.

J Moore, Abu Dhabi

The forgotten virtue of modesty

I highly commend the opinion article Modesty is a forgotten virtue on our nation's campuses (January 26) by the Zayed University student Asmaa Saif al Hamely.

She has written a timely article and it is an eye opener. As a male staff member of the same university, I feel so embarrassed to walk through the campus as some girls do not observe simple decency in front of strange men. They sleep, sit on couches or stretch their legs as if they are in their bedroom. They do not have simple modesty when somebody is approaching; there are so many men around - staff as well as outside contract labourers - but nothing bothers them.

Some girls dress as models and walk as if on a catwalk. It's very disappointing to see them wearing tight fitting jeans and T-shirts and I wonder why the parents are buying those clothes in the first place.

Name Withheld by Request