Every time a new guaranteed return plan comes out of theRs.2.8 trillion life insurance factory, Finance 101 dies one more time. Remove all the bells and whistles and the core function of a financial system (this includes intermediaries and markets) is to reduce costs of moving money between borrowers and lenders. Banks are the best known intermediary between savers (you and me) and borrowers (companies with projects and also you and me as individual loan seekers). We need intermediaries and markets because the cost for me, with my monthly pot of savings, to find a company that needs the money for the time that I want to invest it for, is too large for me to make any return on my savings. Also, the borrower (think Flipkart in its early pre-billion phase, or even Kingfisher or any other company) has more information than me, the saver, at every point if we are in a one-to-one negotiation for my little pot of monthly savings.