As Quinn's troubles continue, the question remains: how did this happen?
The pain at Quinn Group is there for all to see: 900 job losses, a ‘for sale’ sign hoisted above the door and pricing back to normal market levels.
The latest is that it’s back in the UK motor market and eyeing commercial again, albeit in a more controlled and restricted manner, and with the regulator crawling all over it. The all-guns-blazing approach of the past appears to be gone forever.
Apologies, then, if this message is becoming repetitive, but how on earth did the regulator let this happen in the first place? And when will we hear about the safeguards and transparency necessary to stop it happening in the future?
The longer this goes on, the worse the situation gets and the more market predators pick over the remains of a company savaged by the regulator amidst the private warnings of its competitors far and wide. Depressing, isn’t it?
Which port in a storm?
On a similarly cheerless note, this week you have your chance to make a difference and vote with your feet. Vote for Gordon Brown to retain the FSA, oversee the kind of global regulation plans he has been threatening us with for the past decade (but has been unable to implement), as well as endure a VAT rise.
Vote for David Cameron if you don’t want to retain the FSA but want a different flavour of regulator, as well as a new consumer protection agency and a move away from principles-based regulation. Oh, and a new public spending programme and a recovery strategy critics warn that could see the country endure a double-dip recession.
Vote for Nick Clegg if you don’t really know much about regulation, nor the global picture and its impact on the UK economy, but agree with a vocal minority that his Treasury right-hand man, Vince Cable, comes across as better than the competition.
The choice is yours, but be warned; on the other side of the pond, US president Obama is introducing a new financial reform bill while simultaneously watching Goldmans get smacked. Whoever takes charge of the UK is going to need to rekindle that special relationship, as the implications look set to be widespread and European insurers will need to ensure that there is a level playing field for all in the aftermath. IT