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This morning, Dealbook reports that in the wake of MF Global’s bankruptcy, the futures industry is beginning to come to grips with the fact that its business requires increased regulation.The article details the ins and outs of both how the industry came to that realisation and provides examples of current regulatory shortfalls.
But the second sentence of the article blows open the broader issue of how most Americans perceive the financial industry and its attempts to show some sort of self-regulation:
The closed-door meeting [of futures industry executives, regulators and customers] illustrated a fundamental shift under way in the futures industry: financial firms, ordinarily loath to accept regulation, are now spearheading efforts for new oversight as they try to heal the black eye left by MF Global and the disappearance of $1.2 billion in its customers’ money.
Nothing wrong with this type of discussion per se and such meetings are bound to happen anyway.
But the notion that the futures industry’s first instinct when considering new regulation is to have a closed door meeting and then leak the existence of the meeting to the New York Times can only add fuel arguments that the financial world is rife with self-dealing and too opaque to be fair.
The move also shows a real gap in PR skills. It should be fairly clear by this point that the way to show the public you care isn’t to talk about the private meetings you are having to address their concerns.