Facing the axe

Who could have predicted AIG and Royal Bank of Scotland running into serious difficulties? Two of the most respected and seemingly well-grounded financial institutions in the world came within a hair's breadth of going down, taking countless investors and companies with them. However, with government intervention, they seem to be stable once more - but the point is, if they can teeter on the brink as a result of the financial crisis, then no matter how secure and protected a firm thinks it is

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