We all have read about the fall of Lehman and takeover of Merryl by BOA. Here’s what I wrote to Financial Express recently:
This refers to your editorial “Lehmanaging finance” (FE 16.09.08). What has happened to Lehman Brothers now in 2008 is a grim repeat of the Great Depression of 1931. It appears that Merryl Lynch somehow wrangled to avoid bankruptcy by finding an Angel Investor in Bank of America. Such well known icons of the global financial world, falling down from their high and mighty pedestals like a pack of cards indicates that their fundamentals were weak and their foundations were hollow. We Indians looked at them as pillars of strength and often had grandiose plans to grow to their heights but the real picture was a facade behind which lurked murky matters and financial juggleries which caught their investors unawares. Let our RBI and Finance Ministry take a leaf out of the books of these two mishaps to learn a lesson and take corrective measures to ensure that such sudden and shocking falls in stock markets are prevented. Greed and Fear are the main culprits of such excesses. It is also likely that some other big brothers like Goldman Sachs may see similar fate looking to the fact that its third quarter earnings plunged massively by 70%. Our own banks like ICICI and SBI are also likely to suffer huge damage to their reputations by making high provisions to cover their investments in Lehman’s Indian arms. The need of the hour is that “Big Bosses” of RBI/FINMIN/SEBI should get together and plan to put in place required risk control measures in public interest and in the interest of financial stability. Every time such shocks surface, our poeople who sit on the top of our financial systems, merely mouth dialogues like: “The fundamentals of Indian economy are really strong”. It is high time our financial pundits did a thorough study and come out with a detailed analysis of our financial system so that Indian investors are not taken for a ride by such shocking shake-ups.
J S BROCA,New Delhi.