Choosing 'Europe's most dangerous financial product'

Interesting In praise of... in the Guardian

In praise of… Sven Giegold

Go to to vote on the continent's most toxic new offerings

Visitors to are encouraged to vote in a very unusual poll: they can pick Europe's most dangerous financial product. Is it a credit card with punitive rates of interest? Or credit default swaps on the bonds of a developing country? Or perhaps you're most concerned about products that harm the environment – in which case choose between bets on food prices or on the extraction of uranium. Each toxic option comes with its own special reason why it is the most dangerous financial product on the continent. The survey is the brainchild of German MEP Sven Giegold, whose stated aim is to let in more daylight on a notoriously murky and under-regulated sub-industry. But he also raises an important point: we wouldn't let a drugs company launch a new antibiotic without full tests – why should finance be any different? Today is the last day to vote; we are assured that the winner will get no prizes.

And the results are in!


The nominees:

Our jury had divided the submitted proposals into two categories. For detailed information on the nominated products and the jury’s reasoning for their nominations, please click the underlined names of the products.

Category 1: Products that harm consumers and investors

2nd place: Credit cards with extremely high interest rates (22.4% of the votes)

3rd place: Foreign currency loans payable upon final maturity (21.2% of the votes)

4th place: Reverse convertible bonds (9.6% of the votes)


Category 2: Products that harm the environment, the global poor and or third parties


2nd place: Extraction of Oil Sands: RBS Sands TR Equity Index Certificate (13.3% of the votes)

3rd place: Extraction of Uranium: DWS Go Uranium Exploration Index Certificate (11.7% of the votes)

4th place: Gold & Silver: Solit 2 Gold & Silber GmbH & Co KG (3.6% of the votes)



A more detailed summary of the votes and comments by the participants can be found here.