HBOS managers to face no action after 6-year probe

The UK’s two banking regulators said on Friday they would take no enforcement action against certain former senior managers at HBOS, which collapsed in 2008.

HBOS had to be rescued via a government-backed takeover by Lloyds Banking Group, which itself subsequently needed a £20 billion taxpayer bailout.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) opened investigations into unnamed former senior managers at HBOS in January 2016 to decide if any of them should be banned from the financial sector.

After six years of investigations involving analysis of two million documents, the two regulators said on Friday that the investigations had now been concluded with a decision by “each of the authorities’ independent decision-makers to take no further action.”

The investigations stemmed from recommendations in a report from independent lawyer Andrew Green in 2015.

Green said the PRA and FCA should review a decision by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) not to act against 10 executives.

On Friday, the FCA and the PRA said: “The Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) joint investigations into certain former senior managers at HBOS plc have now concluded with a decision by each of the authorities’ independent decision-makers to take no further action.

“The investigations, which began in 2016, were in response to Andrew Green QC’s November 2015 report into the reasonableness of the scope of the FSA’s enforcement investigations in relation to the failure of HBOS …

“The authorities’ joint investigations considered the performance of certain former senior managers at HBOS in the years before its failure.

“The investigations considered whether or not those individuals should be subject to a prohibition order which would prohibit them from performing certain roles within the financial services industry.

“The authorities conducted rigorous and forensic investigations.

“Evidence was gathered in order to assess whether or not each individual may lack fitness and propriety to hold certain senior roles within the financial services industry in the future.

“In the course of these investigations, the authorities gathered more than 2 million documents, interviewed former HBOS senior managers, engaged extensively with the parties, and undertook substantial analysis of contemporaneous documentary evidence considering those senior managers’ roles and responsibilities at HBOS prior to its failure in 2008 …

“In line with standard practice, the authorities’ independent decision-makers reviewed the matters under investigation and have each determined that no enforcement action should be taken against these former HBOS senior managers.

“These investigations have therefore been closed.”

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Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.