It started with AIG, and now it’s spreading: Barclays is the latest to take heat for doing something deemed too “lavish”. The Press Association reports that the bank held a luxury, three-day educational event at beautiful Lake Como in Italy. The company says it was just normal business. And it sounds like a pretty typical event: Fine wine, a nice hotel and a chance for bankers to meet with their clients. But in a post-bailout, post AIG-junket financial system, it’s all suspect, and the media will latch onto these stories each time they can get ’em.
But as we’ve been stating, even if a company has received a bailout (and Barclay’s hasn’t, really), they have to be able to do business. Should they look for places to cut costs? Sure, and certainly many are looking at areas where they can pare back on needless expenses. But the idea of just shutting everything down, including client relations events, is just self defeating.