The 10 men responsible for taking down one of Britain’s oldest financial institutions between them, Halifax-Bank of Scotland (HBOS), may face a ban from working in the financial industry, but they also may not. They certainly won’t be going to prison, or at least that’s the current outlook.
After the British taxpayer was forced to give them £20 billion as a bail out in 2008, the British taxpayer could also be forgiven for demanding that those accountable are held as such, but it’s Britain we are talking about, and it’s unlikely to be the case.
The FCA – an organisation that comes down like a tonne of bricks on those working within the lower rungs of the financial industry if they even forget to disclose within a customer phone call that all calls are recorded, or to read out the direct debit mandate in full – have finally released their long-awaited report on the biggest financial scandal involving Britain since Nick Leeson took down Baring’s. The general consensus is that they may as well not have bothered.
The report, making up over 500 pages, including testimonies from 80 witnesses, and costing the taxpayer, wait for it – £7 million, took three years to compile and uncovered what we already knew anyway – that Chairman Lord Stevenson and CEO’s James Crosby and Andy Hornby allowed the bank to involve itself in extremely risky investment strategies for seven years before it all eventually caught up with them.
They took all their customer’s money, pumped it into a load of high risk, high return funds that never did return, and when it all came tumbling down around them, they went running to the government to get a bail out. And despite this, the FCA is still undecided about whether they should even be banned from working in the industry again. It’s really quote amazing.
We’d all love to partake in high risk investments which are essentially made risk – and punishment – free because the government will use taxpayer’s money to compensate us if it all goes wrong, and we won’t face any further recourse – and people wonder why human’s go into banking?
Amazingly, it’s already too late to fine anyone for the collapse of HBOS, as the report took too long to compile. So those inflated bonuses are also very much safe.
Overall, and much to the disbelief and anger of the British public, the British Government have backed the banking system to the tune of £1,100 billion. That’s one thousand, one hundred billion, despite the vast majority of British banks being incontrovertibly and really rather embarrassingly mismanaged by amateurs.
Of course, the bail out and the tens of billions the British public contributed to bailing out the banks is quite bad, but, lest we forget, the collapse was also a major contributor to the economy dropping by 7.2% at the time, costing millions to normal hardworking people and devaluing their wealth substantially.
How can banks and those that work at the very top get a free pass? The truth is that we will probably never know. Amongst the now widely circulated theory of false flag attacks plotted by the world’s leading financiers to help them to make more money, after ISIS, it is looking increasingly likely that the wrath of the most powerful organisation of all –humanity – will be turning its eyes on banking next.