The Great Debate

Financial heaven and hell

denmark1– Christopher Swann is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own –

There is nothing like a home-grown financial crisis to undermine a superpower’s sense of superiority. The United States is finding it has something to learn from some of the world’s lowest profile countries.

Among those that are now being held up as role models are Denmark, Canada and Sweden.

This brings to mind the old joke about the European heaven and hell. In a financial heaven you would have Danish mortgages, Canadian regulators and bank rescues would be orchestrated by the Swedes. In a financial hell the mortgages would be Hungarian, the bank regulators would be from Iceland and the Americans would manage bank rescues.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, yet there has been precious little of this. This is probably a result of the continued political influence of the financial oligopoly.

Clarity important for Europe stress tests

sap_executiveboard_apotheker_001– Leo Apotheker, co-CEO and member of the executive board of German software maker SAP AG, is a guest columnist. The views expressed are his own. —

The U.S. government’s recent bank stress tests were all about clarity. With hard data and clear facts, they shone a bright light on the shadowy uncertainties of complex financial transactions.

The question now is: Will this sort of clarity be a part of doing business in the financial industry?