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Experts split over banking commission call to ban ex-HBOS execs

HBOS plc 480

Experts are split over whether the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards’ call to ban ex-HBOS directors is a “gimmick” or a chance for the FCA to “show its teeth”.

The report, ‘An accident waiting to happen’: The failure of HBOS, published last week, calls for ex-chairman Lord Dennis Stevenson and ex-chief executives Andy Hornby and Sir James Crosby to be banned from working in financial services.

After the report was published, Crosby resigned from his role as adviser to private equity firm Bridgepoint while business secretary Vince Cable is looking at whether the three can be banned as company directors.

HBOS was forced to merge with Lloyds Banking Group in 2008 to avoid collapse and the Government then took a 42 per cent stake in the bank.

The report states that HBOS grew “aggressively”, creating a “brash culture” that led to the belief that market share growth was due to “a special set of skills that HBOS possessed and its competitors lacked”.

PCBS member and Tory MP Mark Garnier says: “HBOS was a car crash waiting to happen even before the crisis came along. Any suggestion by the management that they were a victim of circumstance was wrong as they were victims of their own hubris.”

Lentune Mortgage Consultancy director Stuart Gregory says: “It’s an opportunity for the new FCA to show its teeth, I feel – show it means business and ban them from working in financial services.”

But Your Mortgage Decisions director Dominik Lipnicki says: “It’s a gimmick as these people are not going to hold senior banking positions again. It’s like banning a blind person from driving when they are never going to drive again.”

Lansons Communications director Richard Hobbs says: “As a political gesture it has some force but a ban wouldn’t make a difference as they won’t get another top banking job.”

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