There is no other reading.
First AIG. Bailed out by the US government after losing billions in insuring bad CDOs. It made players look like overt symbols of the global economic meltdown bought on by corporate excess. Paradoxically, at the same time, the company was desperately attempting to re-brand itself while its name was being beamed to billions of viewers all over the world.
Now their £80m shirt sponsorship with AON, the world’s largest risk advisers and insurance providers (these are boom times for them) brings them close to a company that was targeted by Elliott Spitzer for receiving huge hidden payoffs from insurance brokers. These were illegal payments to the company for steering business to these brokerages. It created a conflict of interest whereby brokers could resolve settlements in favour of the company, rather than the customer. AON agreed to pay $190 million in settlements to three US states.
More recently, the AON’s UK office was slapped with a record breaking fine of £5.25m for indulging in corrupt practices to increase their business presence abroad.
Now, AON has decided to cut their matching contribution to pension funds by half. The move forces thousands of working class Britons to either increase their payments to receive the same benefit or make do with less on retirement. Supposedly, these measures are forced upon by financial hard times. Yet, AON thinks nothing of paying £80m for a shirts sponsorship. It is mind boggling.
Not exactly a shining example of corporate responsibility. On the other end, the Labour government is being roiled by a financial scandal brought on by disclosures that tax money has been used for years to finance junkets and pet projects of their elected officials. It has led to heads rolling and calls for early elections. The public’s confidence in government has plummeted to an all time low. It maybe bit too much to expect but this presents as a perfect opportunity for big clubs like Man Utd with their huge global grassroots support and brand name to set a tone by picking their sponsors more carefully.