THE LORD Mayor of the City of London last night issued an impassioned plea for the square mile to get its house in order, as the Libor fixing scandal threatens to escalate.
Traders guilty of manipulating the inter-bank lending rate should be firmly punished, Lord Mayor David Wootton said, insisting that the reputation of the rest of the industry is not also dragged through the mud.
The City must be publicly seen to launch a swift but “reasoned debate” on reforming any areas of wrongdoing, Wootton added, warning that otherwise it could be hit by harmful knee-jerk reactions from lawmakers and authorities.
“I was shocked by the behaviour of the traders – and shocked by the culture their actions suggested,” Wootton told a dinner of senior judges at Mansion House.
“But these actions do not represent the ethos and commitment of the 300,000 people who work in the City of London, nor the near two million who work in financial and related services across the UK.”
If the latest scandal is allowed to sully the whole financial sector it could lead to “adverse consequences of overly quick, ill thought out responses,” Wootton warned, adding: “The current debate needs to see more light and less heat”.
“We in the City have to be more active, more engaged and ready to embrace change – and be seen to do so.” Wootton told the judges that much could be learned from the legal sector, stressing the importance of the rule of law.