Scottish Daily Mail

HBOS Three could face bans

But de­lays mean for­mer chiefs can­not be fined

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THREE for­mer bosses who have been blamed for the down­fall of HBOS could face life­time bans from the fi­nan­cial ser­vices in­dus­try af­ter a re­port into the lender’s col­lapse is fi­nally pub­lished this week.

James Crosby and Andy Hornby, the bank’s last two chief ex­ec­u­tives, are likely to be harshly crit­i­cised, as is for­mer chair­man Lord (Den­nis) Steven­son.

But in a rev­e­la­tion that will anger mil­lions of savers, bor­row­ers and small share­hold­ers, it emerged this week­end that the trio can­not be fined.

That is be­cause the muchde­layed re­port into the dis­as­ter has taken so long to pro­duce.

The only per­son to suf­fer a fi­nan­cial penalty in con­nec­tion with HBOS is for­mer cor­po­rate lend­ing supremo Peter Cum­mings. The Scots­man was given a life­long ban and a £500,000 penalty three years ago.

At that time, the reg­u­la­tors also qui­etly de­cided not to pursue fi­nan­cial penal­ties against Crosby, Hornby or Steven­son, even though they were Cum­mings’ su­pe­ri­ors. That de­ci­sion was not ex­plic­itly spelled out to the pub­lic.

City watch­dogs can­not now im­pose fi­nan­cial penal­ties on the three men as reg­u­la­tors must warn peo­ple within six years if they plan to do so. The dead­line passed last year.

The con­duct of for­mer reg­u­la­tor the Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Author­ity – which has now been dis­banded – is also likely to be lam­basted.

An in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the de­ci­sions it made about dis­ci­plinary ac­tions against HBOS grandees is be­ing con­ducted by An­drew Green QC.

His find­ings will be pub­lished on Thurs­day along­side the main re­port.

Green was ap­pointed to ‘con­sider afresh’ whether any for­mer mem­bers of HBOS se­nior man­age­ment should be in­ves­ti­gated, with a view to ban­ning them from the in­dus­try. If his find­ings are very damn­ing, then moves to ban the trio may be started.

Nei­ther Lord Steven­son, 70, nor James Crosby, 59, are cur­rently ac­tive as ex­ec­u­tives in the fi­nance sec­tor. Hornby, 48, is chief ex­ec­u­tive of Co­ral Re­tail, part of gam­bling group Gala Co­ral.

A re­port by the Par­lia­men­tary Com­mis­sion on Bank­ing Stan­dards in 2013 found that there had been ‘cat­a­strophic fail­ures of man­age­ment, gov­er­nance and reg­u­la­tory over­sight’ at HBOS.

It said pri­mary re­spon­si­bil­ity rested with Crosby, ‘the ar­chi­tect of the strat­egy that set the course for dis­as­ter’, with Hornby, who was ‘un­able or un­will­ing’ to change course and Steven­son, who presided over the bank board.

 ??  ?? In the fir­ing line: For­mer HBOS chiefs James Crosby, Lord Steven­son and Andy Hornby
In the fir­ing line: For­mer HBOS chiefs James Crosby, Lord Steven­son and Andy Hornby

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