Bailey: Punish HBOS bosses

Tim Wallace
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WATCHDOG head Andrew Bailey praised the plan to ban ex-HBOS bosses from holding directorships in future and expressed shock it had not happened already.

“It is more than odd action has been taken against staff lower down the banks but not against those at the top,” the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) boss said. And he criticised the argument that there is often no trail of evidence leading from the staff who misbehaved directly up to the bosses at the top.

“You can delegate tasks, but not responsibility. We all work on that basis. It is a clear point that needs to be addressed and fixed,” Bailey said.

Former HBOS chiefs Andy Hornby and James Crosby, as well as ex-chairman Lord Stevenson were criticised this month by MPs and peers over their role in the bank’s collapse. Crosby surrendered his knighthood, part of his pension and several directorships as a result.

No other action has been taken, though business secretary Vince Cable plans to ban them from holding directorships.

Bailey said: “I was involved at Barings when senior executives were banned as directors. It is a surprise to me this has not happened to date.”