Showing posts with label HBOS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HBOS. Show all posts

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A nice little nest-egg

Always the first to attack workers’ pensions rights, the capitalist class have one rule for us and another for themselves.
James Crosby and Andy Hornby – two of the three former HBOS chiefs damned by a parliamentary commission for “catastrophic failures of management” – were on pension schemes that accrued benefits at twice the rate of average workers.
The “executive section” of the HBOS pension scheme allowed them to pocket 1/30th of their final salary for each year they worked at the firm, compared with 1/60th for front-line staff.Hornby, eligible to start drawing down a £240,000-a-year HBOS pension when he turns 50 in four years time.

Ged Nichols, general-secretary of the Accord union, which represents HBOS staff, said the pension arrangements were “absolutely disgusting”. He said: “Even with James Crosby reducing his pension, for a front-line member of staff, they would still have to work for more than 20 years to get what Mr Crosby and some of the other former directors get as a pension for one year.”

Friday, April 05, 2013

The Banksters

Fred Goodwin had his knightship removed. Shall we see the same for Sir James Crosby and Lord Stevenson being stripped of their honours.
The Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards concluded the three men, who have since moved on to new positions, should never be allowed to work in the financial sector again. The report identified bad lending (when someone cannot repay a loan), inadequate liquidity (not enough ready cash) and a lack of risk management as the key factors behind HBOS’s fall

The report said: “The primary responsibility for the downfall of HBOS should rest with Sir James Crosby, architect of the strategy that set the course for disaster, with Andy Hornby, who proved unable or unwilling to change course, and Lord Stevenson, who presided over the bank’s board from its birth to its death...Lord Stevenson, in particular, has shown himself incapable of facing the realities of what placed the bank in jeopardy.” It said the former HBOS bosses had failed to admit their mistakes and should apologise for their “incompetent and reckless board strategy”. commission member, Lord Turnbull, pointed out that when Bank of Scotland and Halifax merged to create HBOS, the organisation had a market capitalisation of £30bn. “Just seven years later, all that value had been destroyed”

Tory MP Andrew Tyrie, the chairman of the commission, said: “The HBOS story is one of catastrophic failures of management, governance and regulatory oversight. Primary responsibility for these failures should lie with the former chairman of HBOS and its former chief executives Sir James Crosby and Andy Hornby.”

The report explained that “The lending approach of the corporate division would have been bad lending in any market. The crisis in financial markets was merely the catalyst to expose it.”

To illustrate the scale of the risks being taken on, the report said that in the corporate bank in 2001 the biggest exposure to one single borrower was less than £1m. By 2008 there were nine customers who had each been lent £1bn. One borrower had been advanced £3bn.

Crosby is now working in the City as a member of the European advisory board at private equity firm Bridgepoint. He was knighted for services to finance. He remains on the board at Compass.
Hornby is now chief executive of gaming group Gala Coral.
Stevenson, Baron Stevenson of Coddenham, has gone on to hold a number of non-executive board positions since leaving HBOS including Western Union and The Economist magazine.

The report added: "We are shocked and surprised that, even after the ship has run aground, so many of those who were on the bridge still seem so keen to congratulate themselves on their collective navigational skills."
Socialist Courier isn’t. It par for the course for the capitalist class.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Capital's apologists

Blair Jenkins, chief executive of the Yes Scotland campaign, claimed that Scotland “might very well not have had a financial crisis” if it had been an independent country. This is a ridiculous claim. Some commentators have argued that, if Scotland had been independent, the banks would have been better regulated. The Scottish equivalent of the FSA would have stopped them from pursuing self-destructive courses, barred them from ballooning their balance sheets with dodgy loans and toxic assets, and insisted on higher capital ratios. There’s absolutely no reason to believe that it would have been any different.

The idea that Scotland’s banks – RBS and HBOS, whose combined assets were 21 times Scotland’s gross domestic product at the time of their near collapse (for the sake of comparison, Irish banks’ assets were 4.4 times Irish GDP at point of their October 2008 collapse, and Icelandic banks‘ assets were 9.8 times times Icelandic GDP) – would have been better-regulated if Scotland had been independent is wide of the mark. It is preposterous to suggest the liabilities of a bank are liabilities of the population of the country where the head office of that bank is located. It cost the UK £70bn to recapitalise the Scottish banks. 

Alex Salmond thought the UK authorities and the FSA in particular, were being too tough on the banks in 2007. He felt Scotland would be better off with ‘lighter touch’ regulation. “We are pledging a light-touch regulation suitable to a Scottish financial sector with its outstanding reputation for probity, as opposed to one like that in the UK, which absorbs huge amounts of management time in ‘gold-plated’ regulation." he said in an interview with the Times on April 7th, 2007. Salmond wrote to Fred Goodwin when the latter was RBS chief executive, in May 2007 wishing Goodwin ‘good luck’ with his attempted €72 billion takeover of the Dutch Bank ABN Amro adding ‘it is in the Scottish interests for RBS to be successful’. The takeover is now recognised as one of the most disastrous in corporate history and contributed to the massive losses which caused RBS to fail and require a £45.5bn government funded bailout.

On March 31, 2008 when it was already clear to many investors and analysts that RBS and HBOS had massive holes in their balance sheets and were struggling to fund themselves, Salmond insisted that, with RBS and HBOS, “Scotland has global leaders today, tomorrow and for the long-term” in a speech given to Harvard University selling Scotland as another Celtic Tiger (but a Lion) economy like Ireland. On August 7th, 2008, the day it announced massive first-half losses of £692m, and a few weeks after it had had to tap investors for £12bn to patch up its balance sheet, Salmond told The Times that RBS was “one of the highest-performing financial institutions in the world” which would soon “overcome current challenges to become both highly profitable and highly successful once again”. On September 17th, 2008, Salmond describes the banks as "well capitalised, properly funded financial institutions" ignoring the fundamental problems and the bankers' irresponsibility.

So if the referendum bring change - little will change. Scottish politicians and Scottish parliament will continue to be the servants of capital. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

workers shares - a share in losses

For Bank of Scotland and Royal Bank of Scotland workers, the chance to buy discounted shares in their employer seemed a no-lose deal. Schemes such as the Sharekicker plan at HBOS, which allowed employees to buy the bank’s shares with their bonuses and get 50 per cent more free shares after three years.

In December 2007, the HBOS share price was 741.5p. A year later, after its takeover by Lloyds, it had plunged by more than 90 per cent to 69p, giving thousands of employees who had taken up the Sharekicker plan not only their jobs to worry about, but their savings.

Many staff were confident of prosperity-laden future of their employer and invested much of their cash back into the very company they worked for. The tragedy is that when things went pear-shaped, many lost both their jobs and their savings.

The Deputy Prime Minister talked of a democratic share ownership culture. A lot of bank workers can be forgiven for feeling cynical towards Nick Clegg’s proposal for employees to have a universal right to ask for company shares.

How much say in the running of HBOS, RBS and Northern Rock did the thousands of employees who owned shares in those firms have? Not even 100 per cent take-up would give a workforce sufficient ownership to earn a voice loud enough to be heard. Groups of individual shareholders can’t come close to the ownership held by pension schemes and other institutional investors, who have been found badly wanting as far as accountability is concerned.

http://www.scotsman.com/scotland-on-sunday/business-opinion/comment/jeff_salway_bank_workers_know_pitfalls_of_share_perks_1_2070693

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Hypocrisy by the banks

I read that David Lloyd, 62, was told he had terminal lung cancer in January 2006, his wife, Annette Edwards, contacted their bank, the Halifax, to let them know of his predicament and that he would no longer be able to work. They applied for a payout on an insurance policy, and for state benefits, but while they waited for the money to arrive they went overdrawn.
The bank and its agents telephoned the couple 762 times over seven months in what they say is aggressive pursuit of the debt . Their daughter, Stefanie Moore, 29, received 60 to 100 phone calls and two text messages .

The couple feel dehumanised .

Yes that what capitalism does to people . Socialist Courier wonders if the banks now in debt , begging for government bail-outs will ever be treated in such a shameles and heartless manner to demand repayment

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Privatise Profits - Socialise Losses

BANK OF England governor Mervyn King used his now-famous meeting with the chief executives of the "big five" UK banks last Thursday to admonish them for increasing shareholder dividends.

On February 27, HBOS hiked its dividend by 18% to 48.9p meaning the bank offers a yield of 6.9%. It also lowered the targets under which directors would receive payouts on its executive incentive schemes. Previously directors only received bonuses under the scheme should the bank's shares outperform a basket of UK banks by 3%. Under the new rules, HBOS only needs to be 1.5% above rivals to trigger pay-outs.

Colin McLean, chief executive of SVM Asset Management said: "It just seems wrong that bankers are looking for support and essentially public money at a time when both dividends and executive pay are not only high but have also just been raised."

As we previously reported annual reports from RBS and HBOS show that Sir Fred Goodwin's remuneration totalled £4.19 million in 2007. Hornby's package climbed 22.5% to £1.93 million.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

All the way to the bank

The Times tells us that :-

Andy Hornby, HBOS's chief executive, took home a £1.9 million pay packet for the year, including an annual bonus of £449,000.

Peter Cummings, chief executive of HBOS's corporate business, was paid £2.6 million, after picking up a £300,000 bonus from the executive bonus scheme and a further £1.3 million from a separate bonus plan run by the corporate division.

Benny Higgins, who was ousted last year as head of HBOS's retail banking business, was paid £2.3 million, including his full annual salary and benefits of £900,000 and the same amount again as a payout.

Dennis Stevenson, the chairman, was paid £821,000, including £113,000 in benefits. Jo Dawson and Dan Watkins, the new joint heads of the retail business, were paid £1 million and £329,000 respectively.

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