Archive for October 19th, 2008

the best

Sunday, October 19th, 2008


Due to the financial crisis and maybe since he was part of the consulting team of the new financial market stabilization law the CEO of Deutsche Bank Josef Ackermann waived his bonuses and additional payouts (where one has to say that his rest annual salary is probably still bigger than what I earned in all my life…:)).

Anyways he got a lot of media attention due to this and I guess this was intended.

Nevertheless one is left to hope that other bankers will follow suit and donate their excessive salaries into this fund of 30 billion dollars (This amount of money by the way is in the same order of what the new german law accepted as “security reserve”).

These are not the necessary structural changes in the financial system, which are in principle possible, even on a technical level (see e.g. here) but still – it would be a sign.

In an interview Josef Ackermann was asked (translation (tr) without guarantee):

Bams: Arbeiten die Besten für 500 000 Euro?
(tr:Do the best work for 500 000 Euro?)

JOSEF ACKERMANN: Nein. Die Besten bekommen Sie dafür nicht.
(tr:No the best you won’t get for this money)

and later on:

BamS: Sie selbst haben Ihren Bankern 25 Prozent Rendite vorgegeben. Seither gilt diese Zahl als Maßzahl für Gier.
(tr: You yourself had allowed your bankers 25 percent return. Since then this number is a measure for greed.)

JOSEF ACKERMANN: Ist es Gier, wenn man möglichst erfolgreich sein will? Das will doch jeder im Leben. Davon lebt unser System. Auch der Wettbewerb um höhere Renditen hat die Menschheit weitergebracht. Diesen Wettbewerb sollten wir auf keinen Fall aufgeben. Die 25 Prozent vor Steuern habe ich mir ja nicht einfach ausgedacht, das ist die Rendite, die die besten Banken der Welt erzielen. Und die Deutsche Bank hat den Anspruch, bei den Besten der Welt dabei zu sein.

(tr: Is it greed if one wants to be successful in life? Everybody wants to be this in life. This is how our system works. Also the competition for higher returns had helped on mankind. Under no circumstances this competition should be given up. I didn’t just come up with this 25 percent before taxes, this is the return the best banks in the world achieve. And the Deutsche Bank has the standard to belong to the best in the world.)

If I understand correctly this means that it’s not the challenge like to save endangered banks, but its the money which makes bankers go. A bit wimpy, no?

It is also interesting what bankers value as “successful”.

In particular I have also some skepticism about “Also the competition for higher returns had helped on mankind”….e.g. by looking at this crisis…