19 February 2009

Financial Conglomerates

"Diversified financial conglomerates are a bad idea for customers because they are riddled with conflicts of interest" (John Kay, Financial Times, 11 Feb 2009).
Now this statement may appear to be very convincing in light of the disasters that have befallen financial behemoths such as UBS, Citigroup or Merrill Lynch during the past twelve months.
But things are not as simple as that. While the age of the financial supermarket as a business strategy may be over this does not mean that focused financial service providers are necessarily free of any conflict of interest.
Investors have to judge each institution they deal with on its own merits and conduct proper due diligence before parting with their assets.