Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Decisions, decisions

Given the timing i.e. years after the event and following the publication of a damning report into his conduct, there are various readings of why James Crosby is giving up his knighthood. One would be:

1) That he’s realised the error of his ways and has decided to make a meaningful gesture as an act of contrition; he’s genuinely sorry for the consequences of his actions.

2) Another is he’s simply “guilty” of getting caught.

3) Or mebbe he’s only just realised the magnitude of what happened and its consequences

3) Yet another is he reckons giving up the knighthood and a bit of pension is worth it if he can avoid becoming another Fred Goodwin like pariah with all that entails in terms of journalists digging into his life/camping outside his front door.

Am sure there are other interpretations, but lets see what his written answers to the parliamentary commission’s initial round of questions say:

Q1 - “I resigned as CEO at the beginning of 2006. This had been planned for some time prior to 2006.”

Q2 (1) – “The FSA’s Final Notice was based on what I presume was a detailed review of the period 2006 to 2008, a period substantially after I’d left and in respect of which I have no first hand knowledge and cannot comment on specifically … the prolonged closure of funding markets through 2007 and 2008 was without precedent…. it brought about a much more significant deterioration in the performance of HBOS’s Corporate loans than anyone would have expected or indeed should have been the case”

Q2 (2) – “The merger of Halifax (“H”) and Bank of Scotland (“BoS”) was designed to create a stronger and better balanced business than either of its predecessors…By 2005 with the merger all but complete lending growth in Corporate (only slightly higher than Group deposit growth) had slowed considerably and for the second year running HBOS chose to cede mortgage market share to its rivals.”

Q2 (6) – “The Group’s strategy and its Plan for the following year were largely the creation of the specialist managers in each Division”

Q3 – “At all times the Main Board was conscious of the need to take an acceptable and consistent level of risk both within each Division and in aggregate. There are numerous examples of the Main Board approving strategies designed to temper risk, for example; the decision to raise fresh equity capital in 2002.”

5 – “Having left HBOS in 2006 I have no first-hand experience or knowledge of the detail of what actually transpired subsequently.”

Hmmm. What do you think; when there’s apparently no “pressure” being brought to bear do his responses convey a sense of contrition or was he focused more on distancing himself from a debacle that resulted from unforseen and unforseeable circumstances i.e. it wisnae me 'sides it was all sensible and lovely when I was in charge?

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