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Following the financial crisis banks found themselves wrapped up in a mass of new regulations designed to prevent such a blowout happening again. Risk-taking dropped, spending on compliance rocketed. A decade later the environment for banks is about to change as the tight oversight of the post-crisis years is set to give way, particularly in the US, as financial watchdogs pare back on assertive enforcement. The aim is to allow banks to police themselves more, take greater risks and thus spur economic growth.

Brooke Masters wonders whether this is wise. In her column she looks at a recent string of fines and reprimands racked up by Citi. These range from an $11.5m fine for a faulty data feed that saw investors given the wrong information to a bigger penalty for a problems with an anti-money laundering programme. The cases are unrelated and by industry standards the sums involved are small beer.

But, Brooke asks, if banks can’t get the small things right, how will they fare on the bigger questions once the pressure to invest in compliance is reduced. “Maybe this is a time when investors should be sweating the small stuff,” she writes.

The Oprah temptation: Oprah Winfrey is everything that Donald Trump is not, writes Edward Luce. Her speech at the Golden Globes ceremony prompted speculation that she would make an ideal candidate for president. Unlike Mr Trump, Ms Winfrey is a certified billionaire who made her name by marketing empathy as opposed to saying “you’re fired”. She donates to charitable causes rather than pretending to do so. And she is self-made while Mr Trump was born in a feathered nest. But they do share a disqualifying trait: they are celebrities with no experience in politics.

Bitcoin millennials: In her Notebook this week, Roula Khalaf reports back from a holiday season in which family gatherings rang to the tune of chatter about bitcoin investing. The young in particular — those fabled millennials — are raving about cryptocurrencies and the opportunties they offer, she says. Partly it’s an opportunitity for youthful rebellion against the established order, partly it’s a lack of memory about past financial crazes, such as the dotcom boom. But, Roula notes, it’s partly fuelled by that most millennial of emotions: FOMO, or fear of missing out.

Liberian legacy: As Ellen Johnson Sirleaf prepares to hand over power after 12 years in office, David Pilling looks at the legacy of the Liberian president. As Africa’s first elected female leader Ms Sirleaf has already secured a special place in the history books. Her legislative moves, particularly in the area of gender rights, were also ground-breaking. But, as David writes, more recently Liberians have grown tired of “Ma Ellen”, accusing her of failing to bring the jobs and economic development they expected.

What you’ve been saying

Banish long-haul jet lag with fresh air and exercise— letter from Michael J Higgins, Washington, DC, US

“Sir, How to beat jet lag when flying long-haul economy? Get some fresh air and exercise! ( “My secrets for avoiding jet lag when flying economy class”, Pilita Clark) I regularly travel from Washington, DC to the Far East. I deliberately choose to make this trip through Europe, transiting through Frankfurt airport. One of the airport’s least appreciated assets is the city forest (“Stadtwald”) which surrounds it. I take a quick bus trip to one of the nearby hotels and then walk/jog in the forest for about two hours, clearing my head of the stale recycled air from my incoming flight. When I board my connecting flight, I promptly fall asleep. Never fails!”

Comment by Felix Drost on Roula Khalaf’s recent column, “A bitcoin bubble made in millennial heaven”

“You do need to be a techie or millennial to understand the power of these cryptotechnologies. Especially once bitcoin is rendered obsolete by quantum computing (couple of years), the crypto technologies based on quantum computing will dominate the economy. And that's not only about money, it will become endemic in the next decade. Millennials more than most are in a position to understand this.”

How Sutherland helped the WTO come into being— letter from Paul Moen, Ottawa, ON, Canada

“Sir, The passing away of legend Peter Sutherland (“European commissioner and ‘Father of globalisation’ ”, January 8) reminds us of the leadership required to forge an inclusive global trading system for the benefit of all. In one of his crowning achievements, Mr Sutherland helped tame populist nationalism to land the historic Uruguay Round trade agreement in 1994, giving birth to the World Trade Organization and dramatically advancing the rule of law in international trade. With the WTO and other trade agreements currently coming under attack, the forces of progress would do well to invoke the spirit, inspiration and perseverance of this eminent statesman.”

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Today’s opinion

Flashing red metrics give the US Federal Reserve a reason to act The right question is whether new risks to financial stability have arisen

The Big Read: Frozen assets: Big Asian banks battle with China Fishery The family-run business borrowed more than $750m from regional lenders. With the group in Chapter 11 the case has triggered questions over due diligence

FT Alphaville: The “banking desert” isn’t a place, it’s a state of being

Instant Insight: Traditional growth measures give a false account of economic health Invented in the manufacturing age, GDP is unsuited to the digital economy

Brexit will allow the UK to value its countryside again It will take 10 years, but we can now determine the destiny of rural areas ourselves

Citi’s travails come at a critical time for the banking industry The push to let big institutions police themselves has observers worried

A bitcoin bubble made in millennial heaven Owning a currency whose value gyrates wildly may reflect youthful rebellion

Free Lunch: Taxpayers v investors in the eurozone Debate on risk-sharing defines a class struggle of an unconventional sort

FT Alphaville: Why do futures markets imply a Depression-level collapse in European dividends?

Opinion today: Politics versus economics As politics becomes more alarming, optimism about global economic growth has been rising

FT View

FT View: The opportunity that Levantine gas provides Egypt is the most viable route politically to exploiting this resource

FT View: Earmarking tax revenue comes back into fashion Hypothecation is economically ill-advised if politically astute

The Big Read

The Big Read: Frozen assets: Big Asian banks battle with China Fishery The family-run business borrowed more than $750m from regional lenders. With the group in Chapter 11 the case has triggered questions over due diligence

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