Watching Chuck Prince and Robert Rubin, the former Citigroup chairmen, giving evidence today on the bank’s losses in “super-senior” sub-prime mortgage securities, was not reassuring for anyone seeking lessons from the 2008 financial crisis.
In summary, they told the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission in Washington that the risk management and management structures at Citigroup were state-of-the-art, that regulators were keeping a close eye on the business, and that the board was functioning correctly.
The problem was that no-one actually saw a hole looming in the $40bn portfolio of triple-A tranche collateralised debt obligations being held on Citi’s balance sheet.
Further to my column on the iPad, I’ve also been able to make a comparison between Apple’s device and Amazon’s Kindle. The brief answer is: for periodicals such as digital papers and magazines, the iPod is better; for books, the Kindle still wins.
I’ve written before about the experience of reading papers such as the FT and the Wall Street Journal on a Kindle and have come across devoted readers – mainly senior executives in global companies – who are attached to reading the FT on their Kindles.
My FT column this week is on Apple’s “magical and revolutionary product”:
Last Saturday, a man in brown from UPS came to my door with an Apple iPad. On Sunday, Twitter brought adoring sighs from people who had also bought one. On Monday, the internet delivered a backlash.