September 2020
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Today, Willie Sutton would be working at HSBC, Barclays or Lloyds – because that’s where the money is

Legend has it that when asked by a journalist why he robbed banks, prolific bank robber Willie Sutton gave the famous reply, “because that’s where the money is”. Then when asked why he used a gun, he reportedly said, “because charm and personality are not enough to get them to hand over the money”.

If he was alive today, Willie Sutton would probably be working for a bank robbing customers rather than trying to rob banks. So today’s interview might go something like this. Journalist, “Willie, why do you work at HSBC (Barclays, Lloyds)?” Answer from Mr Sutton, “because that’s where the money is”. Journalist, “Willie’ why don’t you use a gun when robbing customers?” Answer from today’s Willie Sutton, “because customers know so little about savings and investments that I can get huge bonuses by robbing them blind selling them all sorts of garbage and junk. But best of all,” Willie Sutton laughs, “customers are so gullible that they don’t even realise they’re being robbed. Ha, ha, ha.”

So if you have a financial adviser or relationship manager or someone of that ilk at your high street bank, they’re probably just a kind of modern-day Willie Sutton, robbing you blind to inflate their bonuses and advance their lousy careers.

My thanks to David Lumsley at HSBC for helping me understand this.

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