One last shot to avoid the financial madhouse

Given the uncertainty in the markets following this month\'s cataclysmic events, it looks as if almost every lender is about to reprice upwards. For those looking to grab good deals, it is worth locking in now.

HBOS, Abbey, NR and Woolwich among others are under notice that rates are going to be withdrawn suddenly and repriced upwards. You have been warned.

Meanwhile in the US, things are getting ever more jittery with regard to the planned $700bn rescue package.

As the Financial Times highlighted recently: “Amid uncertainty about the plan’s prospects, US money market funds controlling thousands of billions of dollars in assets led a stampede to safety, buying short-term government debt, selling commercial paper and withdrawing funds from the interbank market.

“As a result, the rates that banks charge each other soared while yields on Treasury bills plunged.”

There is increasing dissent regarding the perceived bailout of bank executives earning big salaries who should instead be punished for their actions. But it’s not that simple.

The reality is that if we let the financial system go to the wall, those most affected will be the public. We must not lose sight of this.

And it is unfair to blame the so-called greed of investment bankers. The majority have worked tremendously hard and we have benefited from their contribution to the economy in the past.

As an industry – in fact, as a country – we should be hoping that the US bailout finds a way through. It’s a bit like the end of a game of darts. Having already missed several shots we are down to double one – and hopefully this dart will hit the target. If not, it could be a madhouse all round.

Andrew Montlake

Partner

Cobalt Capital

London