Britain’s two banking regulators have confirmed that they will take no enforcement action against former senior managers at HBOS, a bank that collapsed in 2008 in the midst of the global financial crisis.
HBOS was saved via a government-engineered takeover by rival Lloyds, which then required a 20 billion pound ($23.74 billion) taxpayer bailout, prompting growing debt and a major rethink of financial regulation.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) opened investigations into unnamed former HBOS employees in January 2016 to determine whether any of them should be banned from the financial sector.
But bringing a six-year investigation to a conclusion, both regulators have decided to take no further action.
The investigations into officials at HBOS, which traded under the Halifax and Bank of Scotland brands, was launched as a result of recommendations in a report by independent lawyer Andrew Green in November 2015.
Green said the PRA and FCA should review a decision made by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) not to take action against 10 members of senior management at the bank. The FSA had taken enforcement action in 2012 against Bank of Scotland and Peter Cummings, chief executive of HBOS’s corporate division, but Green argued that many bearing responsibility for wrongdoings at the bank faced no consequences.
The decision not to pursue the case has faced criticism, and could pile more pressure on the FCA and the PRA.
Liz Truss, frontrunner to become Britain’s prime minister in September, has said she plans to review the roles of the PRA and the FCA because she believes they have not focused enough on growth.
Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey warned earlier this month that weakening the independence of regulators would undermine financial market reforms currently before parliament, as well as Britain’s standing in the global economy.