Monday 12 December 2011

Why Sir Fred went free

The FSA whitewash report has been published today into the failure of regulation as regards RBS. The top issue raised is the Brown/Balls approach of insisting on light touch regulation, meaning that the poor FSA did not do much to try to hold RBS to account.

Of course, it is all awright now, because Brown and Balls are gone (for now), the FSA has been beefed up and the horrible bankers in charge have all be sacked. So that's alright then?

No, not really, in a handwringing comments the Head of the FSA says if the bankers can't be held to account under the current system, then perhaps new laws are needed. It is the FSA's failings that mean the bankers can't be touched.

How about trying this on? Failure by the FSA to do its job and regulate, regardless of 'political influence', has led to a £100 billion cost to the taxpayer, with small chance of us currently seeing much of this back again. The entirety of the staff at the FSA at the time, the board and advisors are all guilty and should at least be banned from holding public office ever again.

But what instead has happened? Hector Sants is to be made a Deputy of the Bank of England.

The pathetic public sector cop out as per usual- you can't blame individuals for large events. Well you can in this case, its perfectly obvious. The excuse goes that Sants was only a new joiner at the time and all the key decisions had already been taken; rather like if I take a turn to drive a car on a long journeyand I only take the wheel just before the accident then of course the accident is not just my fault but everyone elses' too.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but can you spell out exactly what Goodwin is supposed to have done that was against the law?

He is a complete twat but that isn't actually illegal. Perhaps it should be.

purplepangolin said...

I don't know enough about this case to comment specifically, but just to point out a flaw in your analogy:

If the driver has set the car on a collision course and I grab the wheel but fail to avert disaster, is that my fault or the drivers? Surely it depends on whether I had sufficient time/control to avert disaster?

Anonymous said...

check out peter eyre's website to find out what really happened at RBS

Sean said...

Not sure I can buy that in this case, but in general yes the civil service and public officials need to be held to much tougher rules.

If you got a corgi plumber round for a job and he did the job to the required rules at the time and later you found that those rules were not good enough and your kids all die of gas poisoning then its not really the plumber fault is it?

Yup he is the one you will be claiming the insurance from, but that's just a technical issue of public liability.

You we need is the plumber to think above and beyond the rules> the rules quite often are a get out especially when they are too many of them.

The problem was the culture that BBB (blair, brown ,balls)produced in government. Eddy Geroge said in the first week of BBB that taking bank reg from the BoE would lead to disaster, he too was ignored as was Peter Lilly. BBB had an hard on for themselves from the minute they were elected to the minute they left and balls still does.

BlackRaven said...


Jan said...

I agree with Sean. The culture always starts at the top and in this case it was the last government. The one person who seems to have kept very quiet and who so far seems to have got away with everything the last government did and enriched himself hugely in the process was one T. Bliar.

I don't think he cares too hoots about the mess he left us with and Brown and Balls were just his deluded sidekicks.

CityUnslicker said...

Anon - where do I say Goodwin should go down under current laws? I don't he has a get out clause which it the FSA.

My complaint - which is where other commenters are coming from, is that they have a get out clause in saying it was Brown and Balls.

My miff, is that this is typical publc sector behaviour - no on eis to blame and if they are then find someone who has already been sacked.

Blackraven - you think more or less, I was roughly adding up Wreck, RBS, Lloyds equity bailouts - admittedly more than RBS, which was not clear. Although if it was public the amount of shadow funding the public was in for at RBS as wellthen £100 billion for the bank alone may be not innacurate in any event

Budgie said...

When Northern Rock went down the BoE, the FSA and the Treasury tried to blame each other. It appeared that no-one was in overall charge. This was clearly Brown's fault - he had previously and repeatedly boasted about his policies and his regulatory set up. He had effectively excluded Blair from any interference.

BlackRaven said...

if you mark it to market its ~£19bn as of today. remember the government got paid some huge premiums to underwrite that crap, it didn't do it for free.

still, its a pretty rubbish effort from the UK, (partly because Brown jumped the gun an paid way too high prices), given the US make $25bn on TARP and the Federal reserve has made the treasury about $150bn over three years.

CityUnslicker said...

agree Raven - love to see you try to place 80% of RBS in the market at 20p today....

Hopper said...

Thanks for this CU - I was starting to think I must be on crazy pills with my berating of Sants and the FSA, since no-one else seemed at all concerned about them.

BR: bear in mind the TARP had a natural advantage over UK bailouts; they got to force liquid and profitable banks (GS, JPM) to take TARP and then pay it back at 20%+ annualised rates. It was GM and Chrysler that made the really big holes in the bailout accounts, from what I recall.

Anonymous said...

I'd be happy when Clown and Fred the Shred are sharing slopping out in Barlinnie. A kangaroo court is what's needed now.

formertory said...

Masterful work, I thought, by the FSA.

They didn't have enough skills to see what was going on. They didn't have enough people to put on the job to get a grip on what was going on. They didn't have a rules infrastructure that would allow them to get stuck in.

So, what does an ambitious regulatory organisation need to solve future problems?

(1) More rules, and more complicated ones at that.
(2) More people to enforce them.
(3) The people have to be experts and highly trained and so have to be paid much more money to attract "the right calibre".
(4) So FSA top management will need to be paid much more.
(5) So, thank you *hic* and more doubles all round.

Marvellous! Another publicly-funded Empire reaches maturity.

WV: facks