UK Financial Investments, the body tasked with handling the UK government’s stakes in lenders, have hired a senior banker from UBS to manage the winding down of bad loans in the portfolios of Northern Rock and Bradford and Bingley (B&B).
Christopher Fox, former head of UK banks coverage and head of the financial institutions group for the Middle East and Asia, starts at UKFI today. He takes over from former Banco Santander executive Keith Morgan, who left in 2012 but was not immediately replaced. The government was keen to find a replacement in light of plans to sell its stake in Lloyds Banking Group in the near future.
Northern Rock and B&B’s loan books are together known as UK Asset Resolution (UKAR), which is a “zombie bank” not taking any new business. It currently owes the government £43.4bn.
Robin Budenberg, chairman of UKFI, said:
I am pleased that we have attracted someone of Christopher’s calibre to this role. The management of the Government’s stake in UKAR continues to be a high priority for UKFI and I’m sure Christopher will strengthen our existing good relationships with UKAR, who have been making continued progress on the orderly management of their closed mortgage books and returning money to the taxpayer.