Cross-posted from System Viability and Corporate Governance blog
Once upon a time, the standard excuse for bureaucratic incompetence was
the computer. Sorry sir, we’d love to help you but the computer won’t
let us, the computer is down, the computer is so scary you wouldn’t want
to upset it now would you?
This excuse isn’t used so much nowadays. This could mean that
computer systems have gotten better, or it could simply mean there are
now too many computer literate people in the general population for this
excuse to wash.
In the financial services sector, the new excuse is compliance.
Sorry sir, you can’t do that here. This morning, a stock broker told me
I cannot open an investment account for my children, because of
compliance. Compliance with what, I asked. Of course, he didn’t know. I
rang another stock broker, who had no problem with my request.