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Quotes of the month

"The $1.2 million reported in the press was for the renovation of my office, two conference rooms and a reception area. The expenses were incurred over a year ago in a very different environment"
John Thain’s memo to Merrill Lynch employees after his sudden departure. A figure of $300,000 per room seems so much more reasonable, in whatever environment, doesn’t it?

"There is a great deal of work that needs to go into understanding exactly what led to this situation and what changes, regulatory and otherwise, must now be implemented to reduce systemic risk and protect consumers"

After nearly a decade of work on the Citigroup board, Robert Rubin decides to call it quits in a letter to chief executive Vikram Pandit

"The crucial principle in future is that if it looks like a bank and quacks like a bank, we better regulate it like a bank. We have to regulate according to economic substance, not legal form"

Adair Turner, chairman of the UK FSA, gets his ducks in a row for new global regulation in a speech in Davos

"Every institution would prefer to manage its situation on its own, but if you need to take a drastic step to protect a bank, then that is what has to be done"

Marcel Rohner of UBS was the first chief of a big global bank to agree a deal with his government to take toxic assets off his bank’s balance sheet (see “We will not have done enough until we return to profitability”  )

"Writing in this way ahead of the release of results is unusual, of course, but the turn of events is also unusual"

Marcus Agius, chairman of Barclays, tries to reassure shareholders in an open letter. Barclays stock jumped 70% on the day. But the decision of bank president Bob Diamond to cancel a trip to Davos at the last minute got almost as much coverage

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