ED banker Sir Fred Goodwin escaped censure for his role in the near-collapse of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) yesterday.
After an 18-month investigation the Financial Services Authority (FSA) decided there was no fraud or dishonest activity by the former bank boss or his executives.
It said a series of “bad decisions” were made, in particular during the doomed takeover of Dutch bank ABN Amro, but said the issues did not warrant enforcement action.
However, the FSA hinted that the former RBS directors may not be granted a license to work in the City again if they applied.
The news was welcomed by British Bankers’ Association chief executive Angela Knight who said that, while “catastrophic” decisions were made, censuring Goodwin could have been counter productive.
She said: “It you start fining people for making bad decisions you could end up in a situation where no decisions are being made.
However, Labour MP Michael Meacher slammed the FSA and called for Goodwin and his executives to be thrown in prison, adding: “The FSA appears not just toothless, but gumless and jawless. Mismanagement on this gigantic scale cannot simply be written off.”
Rob MacGregor, Unite national officer also criticised the ruling: “The report’s conclusions are an outrage. It is unacceptable to suggest that the behaviour of the management in this iconic UK bank did not ‘lack integrity’ when they brought RBS to its knees.
“By failing to bring any formal charges they have allowed some of the biggest villains of the financial crisis to go on enjoying their millionaire lifestyles.”
The review was undertaken independently by PwC.
Goodwin is now a senior adviser to the Edinburgh-based architecture firm RMJM.
FORMER RBS INVESTMENT BANK CHIEF
JOHNNY Cameron is the only former RBS executive to be publicly rapped over the banking crisis. He was banned by the FSA from taking on a top City job. In October he landed a new role advising boutique Gleacher Shacklock, where his role entails helping the corporate finance advisory firm work on deals, and win new business. He is understood to have carved a niche in debt restructuring.
FORMER RBS CHAIRMAN
TOM McKillop apologised for his role in the financial crisis, admitting to having no qualifications in banking to the Treasury Select Committee. The former chemist and pharmaceuticals chief executive has now moved back into the field he is more familiar with. He is chairman of the British Pharma Group, vice-president of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations and chairman of the North West Science Council.