Saturday, March 10, 2012

the Banks fat cats again

Barclays chief executive Bob Diamond earned £6.3m in pay and bonuses in 2011, but was not the bank's top earner. Its highest paid executive - not identified - received £6.7m.

Meanwhile, Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland - paid their top eight employees £16m and £19.8m, respectively, in 2011.

The highest-paid RBS staff member is Ellen Alemany, who heads the firm's US business. She was paid £4.7m in 2011.

Lloyds' revealed that the highest earner took home £2.8m in pay and bonuses.

Meanwhile the Bank of Scotland was guilty of “very serious financial misconduct” in the run-up to the collapse and £20 billion taxpayer-funded bailout of its parent company HBOS, according to a damning report by the City watchdog, the Financial Services Authority (FSA). The interim report condemned the bank for pursuing “an aggressive growth strategy that focused on high-risk, sub-investment grade lending” which left it highly vulnerable in the economic downturn. Deals of values worth more than £75m nearly doubled from £56bn to £96.2bn between 2006 and 2007, the FSA said yet it pressed ahead with trying to aggressively grow even when markets deteriorated in 2007.

But the bank – which along with Royal Bank of Scotland severely damaged Edinburgh’s status as a major financial centre – has escaped a fine in order to protect the taxpayer.The FSA stated : “The severity of Bank of Scotland’s failings during this time would, under normal circumstances, be likely to warrant a very substantial financial penalty. However, because public funds have already been called on to address the consequences of Bank of Scotland’s misconduct, levying a penalty on the enlarged group means the taxpayer would effectively pay twice for the same actions committed by the firm.”

It is understood the fine would have easily surpassed the record £17.5 million penalty given to Goldman Sachs for its failures.

It also raises questions over whether former directors at the bank should face criminal investigations. The FSA specifically did not name individuals but there was implied criticism of senior individuals. This included former corporate division head Peter Cummings who is reported to have left the bank with a £660,000 pay-off and a £6m pension pot. So far, the only individual to be punished for the banking crisis in the UK is former RBS chief executive Fred Goodwin, who was stripped of his knighthood, but other countries including Iceland have sought to bring criminal proceedings against those deemed responsible.

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