Former private banking boss at HSBC Clive Bannister has come under pressure from the chairman of Phoenix Group, the insurance company he now runs, to explain his role at HSBC, after revelations that the bank’s Swiss arm helped some clients evade taxes.
Phoenix chairman Sir Howard Davies contacted board members last week to inform them that Bannister, who is chief executive of the closed life funds group, had been the subject of media comment after it emerged he was head of HSBC’s private bank in Switzerland at the time it provided services to drug dealers, fraudsters and tax evaders.
Bannister has since given board members a factual account of his time at HSBC. Yesterday, when contacted by City A.M., Bannister was not available to comment. For the time being the amiable Bannister, son of the four-minute miler Roger, appears to have the support of colleagues at Phoenix.
Davies, a well-known City figure and current head of the UK Airports Commission, once stepped down from a high profile position as chair of the London School of Economics following concern about a decision to accept funding from a foundation controlled by former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s son, Saif.[
The interest in what Bannister knew when he was at HSBC comes after Lord Green resigned from his position at lobby group TheCityUK.
Green had been chairman of the group’s advisory panel. He was in charge of HSBC globally at the same time its Swiss private banking arm was helping clients evade tax, and has been dragged into the heart of a political battle by the publication of leaked bank account data.
In 2010 Green was given a peerage and appointed as trade minister by Prime Minister David Cameron. He has not commented on the tax scandal.