Greed, reckless behaviour and the financial crisis: a timeline

lead image

Four years on from the collapse of Lehman Brothers and its devastating fall-out, we look at how weak oversight and a lack of transparency contributed to the financial crisis. This crisis was not just the result of a few rogue traders placing reckless bets. Corruption, in the form of fraud and a ‘no holds barred’ pursuit of profits, bonuses and growth, infected the whole financial system.

Transparency International believes that not enough has been done to change the culture of greed and reckless risk-taking. The collapse of MF Global, the huge trading losses suffered by JPMorgan Chase and the ever-expanding LIBOR scandal are witness to that. The financial system is still highly opaque, riddled with skewed incentives and dominated by “too-big-to-fail” institutions.

These are precisely the conditions that allow corruption to flourish. To counter this, we need more transparent and accountable financial institutions that are responsive to the needs of consumers, investors and the wider economy. The freedoms that the financial sector has enjoyed under the banner of deregulation have too often served the financial elite.

The challenge to policy-makers and civil society is to ensure that the current wave of “re-regulation” serves the greater public interest – otherwise the privatisation of gains and socialisation of losses that were the hallmark of the financial crisis could occur again and again. We are not there yet.

The following selective timeline highlights key moments in the past two decades when lapses in accountability caused financial havoc. Could this happen again? You judge.

Country / Territory - International   |   France   |   Hong Kong   |   Iceland   |   Ireland   |   Japan   |   United Kingdom   |   United States   
Region - Global   |   Americas   |   Asia Pacific   |   Europe and Central Asia   
Language(s) - English   
Topic - Financial markets   |   Politics and government   |   Private sector   
Tags - Financial crisis   |   Corporate transparency   |   Video   |   Corporations   |   Barclays   |   Settlement   |   Libor   |   Banks   |   Goldman Sachs   |   Infographic   |   Slideshow   |   Savings and Loan Crisis   |   Timeline   |   Lehman Brothers   |   Charles Keating   |   Mortgages   |   Nick Leeson   |   Barings Bank   |   Citibank   |   Travelers Insurance   |   Glass-Steagall Act   |   Fannie Mae   |   Investment banking   |   Ratings agencies   |   Paul Moore   |   HBOS   |   Wells Fargo Bank   |   Washington Mutual   |   Countrywide Financial Corp   |   Anglo Irish Bank   |   Sean Quinn   |   Moody's   |   Bear Stearns   |   Northern Rock   |   Bank run   |   ABN-AMRO   |   Royal Bank of Scotland   |   Jérôme Kerviel   |   Société Générale   |   JP Morgan   |   JP Morgan Chase   |   Bank of America   |   Merrill Lynch   |   Morgan Stanley   |   Troubled Asset Relief Fund   |   TARP   |   Neil Barofsky   |   Wall Street   |   City of London   |   MF Global   

Press contact(s):

Chris Sanders
Manager, Media and Public Relations
press@transparency.org
+49 30 3438 20 666

See more news

Follow us on Social Media

Subscribe to our newsletters