Remember the financial crisis? U.K. bank regulators do and what’s most memorable to them is just how badly their firms fucked that shit up. RBS, seriously? SERIOUSLY? And the rest of you weren’t much better. It’s something that keeps the FSA up at night and to be honest, confidence in your abilities to respond to another serious “situation” has not been restored. In fact, if we’re being completely open, RBS, Bank of Ireland, Allied Irish Banks, all you guys right now are like a stoner who nearly burnt down the house because you absentmindedly left the stove on when you tried to make pot brownies and then wandered out of the room to look out cloud formations. If that wasn’t bad enough, you didn’t smell the smoke or see the flames and it was your neighbor who had to call the fire department and carry you outside. There’s no way anyone’s comfortable leaving you home alone again for the foreseeable future and you have them so freaked out they’ve been forced to treat you like imbeciles and make you go through a bunch of mock scenarios to see if you’d know how to react.

U.K. bank regulators are launching a new type of “stress test” that forces banks to consider unlikely but potentially disastrous scenarios…The latest exercise, which the U.K.’s Financial Services Authority instructed banks to start conducting in mid-December, is dubbed a “reverse stress test.” It requires banks to identify potentially fatal events and then to work backward to find ways to revamp their businesses so they would be better prepared to withstand such shocks.

So far those scenarios include what to do in the event of: a Latin American coup that knocks out a bank’s local operations; a disrupted food supply sparks social chaos; a major trade war erupts between the US and China; volcanic ash cloud grounds UK air traffic for months; and a flu pandemic wipes out a bank’s workforce.

Not surprisingly, British banks have not appreciated being forced to do this shit, as they think it’s “overkill” and a “massive waste of time” and as though there’s a perception they’re stupid. One CEO described it as “risk planning gone mad.” But guess what? The government doesn’t give a damn! Because bailing out your asses means you play by the government’s rules (and if you weren’t a bank that was bailed out…sorry about all this). And if you thought the volcano and flu stuff was all you had to tackle, think again. They want even more scenarios dreamed up, from the “relatively mundane” financial fraud to the borderline absurd. Once it’s been demonstrated you know where the fire extinguisher is, you can be left alone.

So, let’s see some fast thinking- what do you do in the event:

* You discover your balance sheet is completely made up and that your CFO has been selecting random bar code numbers in place of the true horror story that will soon engulf this cesspool and consign it to the scrap heap of corporate history

* The Queen is coming and you’ve run out of tea

* The entire female population is knocked out and you have to figure out how to repopulate the earth

* You need to bake and deliver batches of cookies to every first year at Goldman Sachs but you don’t have any flour

For UK Banks, A Calamity Is Born [WSJ]

56 comments (hidden to protect delicate sensibilities)
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Comments (56)

  1. Posted by Guest | February 11, 2011 at 12:49 PM

    Fatal event– tea cart runs out of clotted cream
    Work back– send intern to Tescos Metro. If not available there, Marks and Sparks.

    Test Complete

  2. Posted by Guest | February 11, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    Fatal event– desk assistant pulls a sickie due to “food poisoning” but actually from the previous night’s bender and he doesn’t want to come into work
    Work back– fire him and call Pret to deliver breakfast and coffee

    Test complete

  3. Posted by Guest | February 11, 2011 at 1:04 PM

    Fatal event: Mad cow disease returns in zombie form
    Work back: Feed them junior rainmakers and IT first, install hand sanitization zones at the bank.

    TC

  4. Posted by Nostradamus | February 11, 2011 at 1:06 PM

    A facist dictator comes to power in Germany and bombs London with V2 rockets. This eventually draws the US and other countries into what becomes a wide ranging conflict known as a World War.

  5. Posted by Cfw Cwanda | February 11, 2011 at 1:27 PM

    Simple, the bank needs to go through reorganization from bad investments. Show us the plan of reorganization (including asset sales, haircuts for investors and bond holders). Provide an opinion letter from Weill Gotshal or equal about how long it would take, how much it would cost, who would do what. Provide an opinion letter from an economist (Stiglitz or equal) about how the banking/jobs system could manage the resolution without likely catastrophe (meaning large jump in U-3). Update the plan (and opinion letter) quarterly. Insist US banks do the same if they want to do work in the UK. Show the world the bank is not too big to fail.

  6. Posted by Covey 01 | February 11, 2011 at 1:36 PM

    Against stress = Jamaica’s finest.
    Fatal Event = Too much curry the night before.

  7. Posted by Guest | February 11, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    You’ve just started an online e-MBA program somewhere I’m assuming? Don’t worry in a few weeks you’ll be making posts just like the rest of us. Trust me.

  8. Posted by Guest | February 11, 2011 at 1:47 PM

    Event: A fire alarm closes Corney&Barrow at noon on Friday.
    Response: Wander ’round to Davys.
    Test Complete

  9. Posted by Guest | February 11, 2011 at 1:49 PM

    Interesting, meet me at Minetta’s to discuss. Kill yourself so I know its you.

    - Bernanke

  10. Posted by AmericanBandersnatch | February 11, 2011 at 1:57 PM

    Fatal event: A large asteroid strikes southern England
    Work back: Have Bruce Willis’ number on speed dial

    TC

  11. Posted by ExtraOrdinaryPopularDelusions | February 11, 2011 at 1:59 PM

    Fatal Event: Wanking fucking bankers
    Work-back: Fuck off!
    Test Complete

  12. Posted by ExtraOrdinaryPopularDelusions | February 11, 2011 at 1:59 PM

    Fatal Event: Wanking fucking bankers
    Work-back: Fuck off!
    Test Complete

  13. Posted by Guest | February 11, 2011 at 2:04 PM

    Fatal event– Government increases tax on bankers
    Work back– Move to Geneva

    TC

  14. Posted by Guest | February 11, 2011 at 2:08 PM

    wonder how they are going to deal with this:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/feb/10/ukuncut-plans-protests-against-banks?INTCMP=SRCH

    “Tax avoidance protesters turn their attention to Britain’s banks
    UK Uncut plans to mobilise thousands for day of action next week, timed to coincide with bonus season”

  15. Posted by Anonymous | February 11, 2011 at 2:28 PM

    Fatal event: An underwater earthquake causes a tidal wave to capsize your ocean liner.
    Work back: Get that fatty Shelly Winters to swim passengers to safety.

    Test complete

  16. Posted by guest | February 11, 2011 at 2:40 PM

    Fatal event: You’ve been shrunk to the size of a pencil and dropped into a blender.
    Work back: ???
    Step 3: Profit!

    Test complete

  17. Posted by Anonymous | February 11, 2011 at 2:49 PM

    Fatal event: A Socialist government is elected and proceeds to nationalize industry, gut defense funding, impose capital controls and rationing, and lets your overseas possessions descend into anarchy.

    Work back: First…. oh wait, hang on a second!

  18. Posted by Guest Of A Guest | February 11, 2011 at 2:49 PM

    This guy!

  19. Posted by STARRY_EYED_GUEST | February 11, 2011 at 2:50 PM

    “The Queen is coming and you’ve run out of tea”

    Bess, are you kidding? That one’s easy.

    -Spencer Greenberg

  20. Posted by STARRY_EYED_GUEST | February 11, 2011 at 2:50 PM

    “The Queen is coming and you’ve run out of tea”

    Bess, are you kidding? That one’s easy.

    -Spencer Greenberg

  21. Posted by Guest | February 11, 2011 at 2:52 PM

    From the poster’s name, I’m assuming he’s from somewhere in Canada, and I must apologize for him. We’ve just gone back to Buck-a-Beer and it’s been a bit crazy around these parts. Especially around the Community and Trade Colleges.

  22. Posted by Roofie | February 11, 2011 at 2:55 PM

    * The entire female population is knocked out and you have to figure out how to repopulate the earth

    Wait a minute, wouldn’t that make it easier?

  23. Posted by Guest | February 11, 2011 at 2:57 PM

    Meet me at Tim Horton’s, put your stick on the ice so I know it’s you eh.

  24. Posted by Lord Humongous | February 11, 2011 at 3:04 PM

    Fatal event – Modern dentistry emerges overnight across England
    Work back – Assure the one straight toothed middle office girl is versed in the entire bank’s operations

    Test Complete

  25. Posted by PasteSpecialFormats | February 11, 2011 at 3:16 PM

    Fatal Event: You just slept with a 17 year-old party girl.
    Work Back: Be a clingy and creepy as possible.

    Test Complete

  26. Posted by Also_A_Guest | February 11, 2011 at 3:41 PM

    In soviet Russia, Worse Case Scenario drills you!!

  27. Posted by Also_A_Guest | February 11, 2011 at 3:48 PM

    Fatal Event: Global Thermonuclear War
    Work Back: Suggest game of tic-tac-toe instead.

  28. Posted by Also_A_Guest | February 11, 2011 at 3:48 PM

    Fatal Event: Global Thermonuclear War
    Work Back: Suggest game of tic-tac-toe instead.

  29. Posted by Also_A_Guest | February 11, 2011 at 3:48 PM

    Fatal Event: Global Thermonuclear War
    Work Back: Suggest game of tic-tac-toe instead.

  30. Posted by Also_A_Guest | February 11, 2011 at 3:48 PM

    Fatal Event: Global Thermonuclear War
    Work Back: Suggest game of tic-tac-toe instead.

  31. Posted by Also_A_Guest | February 11, 2011 at 3:48 PM

    Fatal Event: Global Thermonuclear War
    Work Back: Suggest game of tic-tac-toe instead.

  32. Posted by Also_A_Guest | February 11, 2011 at 3:48 PM

    Fatal Event: Global Thermonuclear War
    Work Back: Suggest game of tic-tac-toe instead.

  33. Posted by Doctor. Doctor. | February 11, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    Your piano playing pig gets swine flu and passes it onto your pet emu…taking your bird on a tour of Central America to digest the Black Liquor Tax on soft pulp, the avian flu mutates one more time and infects the local foliage including the rubber trees and coca plants. Chaos erupts soon after at Double line and Ping Capital.

  34. Posted by Joe | February 11, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    Fatal Event: Chuck Prince, Dick Fuld or Stan O’Neal are CEO

  35. Posted by Guest | February 11, 2011 at 4:00 PM

    Fatal Event: 8 or 9 slampiece maxed out the company’s chase debit card
    Work Back: Switch to a Charles Schwab High Yield Investor checking account with overdraft protection…and pick up some natty after.

    Test Complete

  36. Posted by NTJB | February 11, 2011 at 4:09 PM

    Roofie, roofie, roofie. I believe Ms. Levin’s verbiage could be taken to meant that all the women of the earth were unconscious, therefore allowing gentlemen like you take advantage of said incapacitees (not a real word). What I think she meant to say (I earned a 530 on SAT Verbull) is that all the women of the world were gone, wiped out.

    In such a scenario, it would be EXTREMELY difficult to repopulate the earth – unless of course you just fertilized the cryogenically frozen eggs, wait a while for about 50% of the artificial life forms to develop for saw 18 years (16 if in Jersey, what up Sanchez), and then commence repopulation.

    - Not the Joke Briefer

  37. Posted by NTJB | February 11, 2011 at 4:10 PM

    and please, mind the typos. i hope they bother all of you.

  38. Posted by Anonymous | February 11, 2011 at 4:42 PM

    Well I don’t think we’d be able to get out of that without getting our hair mussed.

    -Gen. Turgidson

  39. Posted by Guest | February 11, 2011 at 6:06 PM

    Fatal Event: Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan join forces and corner the world blow market
    Workaround: Force them to take delivery, wait for the OD

  40. Posted by Guest | February 11, 2011 at 6:06 PM

    Fatal Event: Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan join forces and corner the world blow market
    Workaround: Force them to take delivery, wait for the OD

  41. Posted by Guest | February 11, 2011 at 6:12 PM

    Fatal Event: you discover that the majority of your employees only have 85% of their teeth
    Work Back: you realize you are in the UK and having 85% of your teeth is the NKI

    Test Complete

  42. Posted by Guest | February 11, 2011 at 6:12 PM

    Fatal Event: you discover that the majority of your employees only have 85% of their teeth
    Work Back: you realize you are in the UK and having 85% of your teeth is the NKI

    Test Complete

  43. Posted by Guestus Aurelias | February 11, 2011 at 7:25 PM

    “UK Uncut”?? What a whacky bunch of Goys!

  44. Posted by Imnotasfunnyasuguys | February 11, 2011 at 9:37 PM

    Fatal event: the bubble in [insert latest craze here] implodes after you invested in a leveraged fund sold to you by GS
    Work back: ask yourselve if it was this good, why wouldn’t GS keep it for themselves

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