As I write this, we are discussing our forthcoming regulation by the FCA. It seems sometimes that we, as a small charity, are paying for the sins of the global banks, for we will be under the same strict regime. Sledgehammer, nut; nut, sledgehammer Although it will increase our workload significantly, it holds no fears for us as we always aim to be honest and open in our dealings.
We are also being asked to sign the European Code of Good Conduct. Most of it is a mixture of good practice and common sense. It does beg the question: if the European Central Bank had followed its guidelines, would countless billions have been loaned so unwisely to Greece?
There is a principle here, if one were to be cynical: the bigger the institution, the greater the temptation to use and abuse the system. It starts with a joke in a City wine bar, and ends with LIBOR. Once discovered, the new regulation imposed on the sinners affects everyone else in the same industry. It’s not unlike going to a rock concert at Wembley, and each of the 80,000 crowd being frisked at the turnstiles because two drunken idiots were caught taking drugs behind the stage.
So, small is good, and can be great. Small values relationships, small is accountable, flexible and innovative. Small is, ideally, local. What is the reverse of ‘If it’s too big to fail, it’s too big’? How about ‘It’s too small to be noticed but too important to ignore’?