MPs slam FSA as incompetent on ABN Amro

MPS ACCUSED the FSA of being “wildly dysfunctional” in a hearing with its chief executive yesterday, who blamed his predecessor for being too cowardly to stop RBS from buying ABN Amro.

At a session held by the Treasury Select Committee, FSA chief Hector Sants was pressed repeatedly on why he did not stop the disastrous deal that led to a £45bn bail-out for the bank.

“There was no regulatory basis for an intervention after the offer document was published. I did not have the power to intervene,” said Sants. But he said that his boss at the time, former CEO John Tiner, could have intervened earlier.

Defending his record, Sants grew animated: “At least I had the guts to consider the issue. I did what nobody else – including the exec chairman – did: to get out there and take a look at the question.” Tiner, he added “didn’t even look at it”.

But MPs appeared unimpressed at Sants repeated justification that the FSA was “extremely stretched” and could not do its job properly.

David Ruffley MP said: “You’re painting a pretty staggering picture of institutional incompetence at the FSA.” Jesse Norman MP called it a “wildly dysfunctional organisation”.