City watchdog chair Griffith-Jones facing calls to step down after FCA launches HBOS probe

Mark Sands
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Griffith-Jones was senior partner at then-HBOS auditor KPMG (Source: Getty)

The chair of the City's financial watchdog is facing calls to step down following the launch of a new investigation into fraud at HBOS.

The FCA said last week it would re-open a probe into the scam which saw six people, including two former HBOS bankers, jailed in February.

And now fresh calls have emerged for FCA chair John Griffith-Jones to resign, with critics citing his role as senior partner at HBOS auditor KPMG at the time of the fraud.

The regulator launched the enquiry following the sentencing of the six fraudsters, who were handed a collective total of 50 years in jail for their roles in a scheme which ran the business into the ground for their own personal gain.

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Speaking to City A.M. SNP MP George Kerevan, chair of the all-party group for fair business banking said: “Given that his term in office is due up soon in any case, it would be better that he went now rather than later if he wants to clear the decks for the FCA enquiry."

Failure to do so, “would cast serious doubt in the eyes of the people who were defrauded”, he added.

It comes as Anthony Stansfeld, the police and crime commissioner for Thames Valley, whose force investigated the fraud, told The Sunday Times: “There seem to be so many conflicted interests, I find it difficult to believe that the chairman of the FCA can continue in his present role.

“I find it extraordinary that this huge scam was not revealed by the audit”

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An FCA spokesman said that Griffith-Jones would hold “no role” into the HBOS investigation.

HBOS parent Lloyds Banking Group last week said it had set aside £100m for victims of the fraud, which ran up losses of £250m for the now collapsed bank.

Announcing the plan, Lloyds chief executive António Horta-Osório said: “As I have stated before, we would like to express our deep regret and apologies to any customers directly affected by the criminal behaviour of these individuals.”

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