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HBOS whistleblower warned on switches from cash to corporate bonds

HBOS whistleblower Paul Moore has revealed he had concerns that retail savers may have been pushed into corporate bond funds without understanding the additional risk.

In new written evidence submitted to the Treasury select committee late last week, Moore claims to have repeatedly called for a review of corporate bond fund selling practices in 2004 after a boom in sales.

He says that his call for a review was ignored by Jo Dawson, who ran the sales force, until the FSA specifically required the bank to look into corporate bond sales.

Dawson was later appointed as Moore’s replacement when he was later sacked.

Moore says: “As the yields went down on standard deposit accounts, many customers were switched into corporate bond funds and [the Group Regulatory Risk department] and I were not confident that customers who were switched out of deposit accounts into CBFs would really understand the additional risks they were taking on and we wanted to ensure they did.

“What was clear was that the advisers were strongly targeted to sell CBFs to deposit account customers whose deposits matured and the margin HBOS made on CBFs was very much higher than on deposit accounts.”

He adds: “This obviously increased the incentive to sell them.”

Moore also said he raised concerns over the potential misselling of payment protection insurance at HBOS.

He also said it might be in the public interest for a detailed inquiry into the banking crisis to take place outside the Treasury select committee.

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