To quote from his website:- Ian Fraser is an award-winning journalist, commentator and broadcaster who writes about business, finance, politics and economics. His work has been published by among others The Sunday Times, The Economist, Financial Times, BBC News, Thomson Reuters, Dow Jones, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, Independent on Sunday, the Herald, Sunday Herald, The Scotsman, Accountancy, CA Magazine and CityWire.
In 2008, and then updated in 2010, Mr Fraser wrote an article chronicling the hubris which brought the Bank of Scotland/Halifax to the crash which lead to the, by then, Lloyds Banking Group being “rescued” by the British Government.
Mr Fraser’s article can be found here and I heartily commend it to one and all.
HBOS was of course the banker for Rangers Football Club PLC, and for Murray International Holdings and the rest of Sir David Murray’s companies.
I hope Mr Fraser does not mind me quoting the introduction to his piece at length:-
“Lessons must be learnt from the short and calamitous history of HBOS, the bank which went effectively failed in September 2008.
“At best, there were some appalling corporate governance failures at … HBOS, with an obsession with growth taking precedence over risk management and prudent banking practice soon after … September 2001.
“At worst, the bank was dangerously out-of-control and probably also fraudulent, having been pump-primed by its management team to deliver maximum short-term profits growth (and maximum rewards for executives), irrespective of whether the bank had a chance of surviving long term — or whether customers were harmed.
“Throughout the bank’s calamitous seven-year life, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and other authorities for the most part turned a blind eye to the bank’s blatant wrongdoing and recklessness. This applied in spades after Chancellor Gordon Brown appointed James Crosby a director of the FSA while he remained chief executive of the bank, in January 2004. After that, any attempt to properly regulate HBOS seems to have been abandoned, with dire consequences for many of the bank’s customers, Lloyds shareholders, and the British taxpayer.” Continue reading →