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Sunday, 29 January 2012

You read it here first

Goodwin shares with James Crosby the distinction that both rose to the top of a large bank with very little experience of banking. And quite frankly it shows. Crosby came from investment management and operations whilst Goodwin came from accountancy and the BCCI workout, via Clydesdale Bank's operations. It may not be blindingly obvious but the skills required for investment management and accounting are very different from those required for banking. 

Who wrote that? I did, two years ago, here. And on reflection I may have been too polite, but never mind.

But surprise, surprise, this week we read that a direct criticism of Sir Fred Goodwin in the Financial Services Authority's report on the near-collapse of RBS was removed after a final draft was shown to the former banking boss's lawyers. One of the two independent experts appointed by Parliament to review the FSA inquiry revealed that a reference to the RBS chief executive having insufficient experience to run an international bank was cut from the text after complaints from Sir Fred's legal team.

But lawyer Bill Knight told the Commons Treasury Committee that the change was "fair", as the reference amounted to a charge of incompetence for which no evidence was provided in last month's report. Which is about as much of a cop out as you can expect these days. The lawyers objected object because they say that saying Goodwin lacked experience was tantamount to a charge of incompetence.

That is a master class in spin because it didn't actually refute the charge that Goodwin didn't have the relevant experience. But to admit as much would bring shame on all those City grandees and FSA execs and ministers who considered Goodwin's appointment.

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