“New York and London: Twins in Finance and Folly”
In an article in the May 9, 2009 issue of The New York Times about the concept that London and New York stand “one and the same” and mirrored destructive practices that led to the current financial crisis, Booz & Company Partner Alan Gemes (Europe) disagreed, saying that the Royal Bank of Scotland, which in addition to its poor lending, did itself in by buying the Dutch bank giant ABN Amro at the very peak of the market. “Was Royal Bank of Scotland buying ABN an example of the American disease?” asked Gemes, who heads the firm’s global financial services practice. “No. American banks and U.K. banks fell prey to the same problem.” As in any banking crisis, he added, banks revert to being national institutions rather than international ones. In the United States, for instance, the political focus is on persuading banks to start lending to American companies, whereas in London, the big British banks have all tempered their once grandiose ambitions, at least for now.