Are there any banks or investment houses not involved in risky practices?

BY busadmin  October 6, 2008 at 4:51 PM EST

Wall Street; AP photo

Question/Comment: Are there any banks or investment houses not involved in risky practices? I would like to deal with a financial institution that has integrity. Where can I find it?

Paul Solman: No, banks and investment banks are in an inherently risky business. But then, so is every other private firm in the world. Risk is the driver of the system: take a chance, make a killing. Or not. That’s the risk part.

Integrity is a relative term. I take it your real question is: where can you find a financial institution that won’t give you palpitations?

My personal answer to that is dealing with institutions through which I buy my investments directly, so they only hold my assets on my behalf. At the moment (and for many years) they include insured deposits at two banks, the U.S. government (for bonds, which you can buy and hold online), and three well established financial service institutions which hold our pension assets.