THERE will be little room at the top table for HBOS executives in the postmerger board that Lloyds TSB chief executive Eric Daniels unveiled yesterday. This was to be expected, even though history is likely to show bad luck as much as management errors contributed to the Halifax Bank of Scotland’s fall from grace.
It seems likely the share-swap merger will proceed, if for no better reason than institutional investors have holdings in both banks.
Small investors, who are more likely to own shares in one or other of the two, may prove less sanguine and therefore more vocal. But the Government has too much riding on the outcome to risk its failure.
How much independence Lloyds will abdicate to qualify for state help to the detriment of shareholders is unclear. Daniels and the new-look bank will have it all to prove, come the completion of the merger in the New Year. FOR the moment, Wall Street investors are choosing to focus on the positive. The U.S. economy was officially on the brink of recession yesterday, with the news economic output fell 0.3 per cent between July and September. A second consecutive quarter of contraction — an almost cast-iron certainty — will qualify as meeting the technical definition of recession.
Yet U.S. investors were initially relieved that the drop of 0.3 per cent in the annual rate between July and September was not worse.
If this optimism is followed through next week, things will be looking up.