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SocGen: A Very French Solution

It is a feature of French business life that politicians feel they should comment widely on and influence the outcome of corporate decisions. This time they should butt out.

Within hours of the world learning about the trading scandal at SocGen, French government ministers were telling the world the bank needed no partner. The bank would make a profit in 2007, and the management would stay in place to handle the unfolding crisis. Business as usual, then.

But every time politicians protest loudly that something is not going to happen, the likelihood of it taking place seems to increase. Of course the two banks have been down this road before. Back at the tail end of the 90s BNP tried to acquire Socgen.

BNP isn't the only bank interested in a tie-up, however. The analysts have been matchmaking SocGen with HSBC, BBVA and UniCredit to name but 3 European giants. Would they be allowed a fair run at the target? Past experience isn't encouraging.

It is a feature of French business life that politicians feel they should comment widely on and influence the outcome of corporate decisions. This time they should butt out.

Is it not enough that shareholders already have to reap the consequences of a failure of risk management systems within the bank? Why should their opportunity for return on investment be affected by the chest beating of red-faced politicos?

President Sarkozy has an opportunity to signal to the markets that France is open for business. Let's hope he takes it.

Classic Marc Faber on the show Thursday. Abandon financial market assets and buy a farm (or land and commodities) was the message.

Interestingly he has historically been a keen advocate of emerging markets. Now he believes emerging stock markets could be hit even harder than the US market because monetary and fiscal measures in the States will cushion the downside.

If you want to share your own career/management advice I am all ears. Send feedback via the blog (click here) or directly to CNBC Europe.