FCA blasted over inability to fine HBOS execs

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The FCA has been slammed after it admitted it was unable to fine any former HBOS executives over the bank’s collapse during the financial crisis.

The regulator’s HBOS report is to be published later this week. It is expected to include a lengthy examination of why only one HBOS director, Peter Cummings, was fined in the aftermath of the bank’s failure.

The FCA says because HBOS fell apart so long ago, it will fall outside of a six-year statute of limitations on fines.

Yellowtail Financial Planning managing director Dennis Hall says: “It’s incredibly disappointing for the FCA to publish a report in such a timeframe that they’re unable to go after anybody.

“These executives get to keep what they have earned and stroll off into the sunset, but if I go a day over the deadline for a regulatory return, they want to hit me with a £250 fine.”

Libertatem founder Garry Heath also notes the contrast between the FCA’s fine powers and the willingness of the Financial Ombudsman Service to investigate historic cases.

He says: “If the FCA can’t do it for big banks, why can our clients can pursue us to the grave because of the lack of a long-stop?” Informed Choice executive director Nick Bamford adds: “The FCA should not have found itself in this predicament. It’s not good regulatory behaviour, and it should have been sorted out ages ago.”

The regulator remains able to ban ex-HBOS directors from the financial services sector, though none of the former HBOS bosses expected to be named in the report still hold an active registration as an approved person.

The regulator’s investigation into the HBOS collapse was first launched in 2012, and was delayed with the introduction of the FCA and the Prudential Regulation Authority in 2013.