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Monday, 12 December 2011

Worse than useless

Last year I blogged that the FSA employed more than 241 employees who were paid more than £100,000.

A few months later I blogged that the FSA had given the directors of RBS a clean bill of health but declined to publish their report in full.  I speculated that was because it would show the full incompetence of the FSA.

Then about 8 months ago, we had Gordon Browns admission that putting the FSA was probably a mistake.  Thanks a bunch.

A couple of weeks ago I blogged that Mervyn King said that when the sub-prime mortgage market was discussed by central bankers none of them thought the size of the market was enough to cause a problem.  That was because the banking supervisors failed to recognise the scale of the settlement risks in the credit derivatives markets built on the back of the sub-prime debt.

Funny then that today the FSA reports that RBS nearly collapsed in 2008 because of poor management decisions, inadequate regulation and a flawed supervisory system, which doesn't really fit with the clean bill of health they gave a year ago.

The FSA admits that its own supervision was "flawed" and "provided insufficient challenge" to RBS. And it says RBS had too weak a capital position to proceed with the takeover of parts of the Dutch bank ABN Amro. The report concludes that the FSA was too focused on conduct regulation at the time and its prudential supervision of major banks was inadequate.

Good to know that the deals that threw a spanner in the works of the world financial system were passed for money laundering purposes though.

FSA Chairman Adair Turner's salary for 2010/11 is £426,000, rising to £500,276 including bonuses. Chief Executive Hector Sants will take home a total of £806,810 in salary and benefits this financial year, an increase of £33,743 on last year, according to the FSA's Annual report 2010/11.

Turner defended the actions of the regulator on the BBC's Andrew Marr show on 15 February 2009. His comments were that other regulatory bodies throughout the world, which had a variety of different structures and which are perceived either as heavy touch or light touch also failed to predict the economic collapse.

According to Turner, in line with the other regulators, the FSA had failed intellectually by focusing too much on processes and procedures rather than looking at the bigger economic picture. In response as to why Sir James Crosby had been appointed deputy chairman when his bank HBOS had been highlighted by the FSA as using risky lending practises, Lord Turner said that they had files on almost every financial institution indicating a degree of risk.

He did not apologise for the actions of the FSA, which had overseen the near total collapse of several major banks, and accepted that his organisation had not foreseen the likely consequences for Lloyds Bank of its merger with the ailing HBOS arranged in September 2008.

Despite raging controversy over bonuses for employees of the struggling Lloyds Bank, he sought to justify upcoming bonuses averaging 15 per cent for his approximate 2,500 staff, arguing "If you're saying we should now cut the bonuses (of FSA employees), you're saying you should cut their pay by 15%"


Demetrius said...

Are we paying for all this?

Alex said...

Already have done.