When even Warren Buffett, who is no Boy Scout himself, is calling them out, you know it’s bad:
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Warren Buffett, the world’s most famous investor, launched an attack Saturday on big-bank executives, calling for penalties for those who led their companies to near-ruin.
In his latest letter to shareholders, the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. decried the fact that while shareholders suffered during the recent crash, the top people at the banks got off relatively lightly.
“It has not been shareholders who have botched the operations of some of our country’s largest financial institutions,” wrote Buffett. “Yet they have borne the burden, with 90% or more of the value of their holdings wiped out in most cases of failure. Collectively, they have lost more than $500 billion in just the four largest financial fiascos of the last two years. To say these owners have been ‘bailed-out’ is to make a mockery of the term.
“The CEOs and directors of the failed companies, however, have largely gone unscathed. Their fortunes may have been diminished by the disasters they oversaw, but they still live in grand style,” added Buffett.