Greed, reckless behaviour and the financial crisis: a timeline

Greed, reckless behaviour and the financial crisis: a timeline



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.

For any press enquiries please contact press@transparency.org

Latest

Support Transparency International

Unexplained Wealth Orders: How to catch the corrupt and corrupt money in the UK

UK parliament passed an important provision that introduces a powerful new weapon into the anti-corruption arsenal: Unexplained Wealth Orders.

Land rights in Georgia: the stench of corruption

This is the story of how Transparency International’s Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre in Georgia helped a group of villagers win a legal battle against local authorities who had stolen their land.

How corruption affects climate change

Corruption and climate change are closely intertwined.

The secret is out: US$2.7 billion of São Paulo property linked to offshore companies

Our investigation into the real estate market in São Paulo shows how easy it is to hide more than US$2.7 billion worth of property behind shell companies.

Clean contracting at work: an example from Vilnius

The Neris Riverside development is part of a wider initiative to promote clean contracting across Europe – all told, we're monitoring 17 major public contracts worth nearly €1 billion.

A year after Panama Papers, is enough being done to stop illicit finance?

The Panama Papers revealed a global web of secret companies and stealthy crooks hiding stolen wealth, but one year on the corrupt still find it too easy to shift illegal assets and sustain criminally luxurious lifestyles.

Fighting land corruption in Sub-Saharan Africa: Widows tell their story

See a short film created by Ghanaian widows evicted from their land who decided to organise and challenge official indifference.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media

Would you like to know more?

Sign up to stay informed about corruption news and our work around the world