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Bell says Island needs to keep building relationship with UK

Posted 01/02/2012 - 09:58 by anrigaut

2012-01-31 (All day)

The Chief Minister says he supports the UK's drive to stamp out tax evasion. .

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TRANSCRIPT OF BBC RADIO PROGRAMME, PM, INTERVIEW WITH MR TONY SHEARER, EX-CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF SINGER & FRIEDLANDER BANK, FEBRUARY 18TH 2009

2009-02-17 16

TRANSCRIPT OF BBC RADIO PROGRAMME, PM, INTERVIEW WITH MR TONY SHEARER, EX-CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF SINGER & FRIEDLANDER BANK, FEBRUARY 18TH 2009

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/progs/listenagain.shtml#p
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b00hhmmz

47.04

Eddie Mair:
The former Head of a British bank has told PM that the Financial Services Authority ignored repeated warnings about the operations of the Icelandic Bank Kaupthing, and should not have approved its purchase of the bank he once ran.

Tony Shearer was the Chief Executive of Singer & Friedlander Bank in 2005 when it was taken over by Kaupthing, and says he and others were concerned about the bank for years before its collapse last October. He’s given his first interview to our reporter Michael Buchanan, who’s here. Michael.

Michael Buchanan:
Eddie.

Singer & Friedlander was a century-old English bank that was placed in Administration last October as part of the failure of Kaupthing, the Icelandic bank who’d bought it as you said in 2005. Now, Tony Shearer, the former Chief Executive, says the FSA repeatedly ignores, ignored concerns about the Icelandic bank both prior to the purchase and afterwards, up until 2007 at least, and the degree to which these people were senior bankers is highlighted by the fact that one of them, Warwick Jones, is currently the Finance Director of the Bank of England itself.

Mr Shearer appeared before the Treasury Select Committee earlier this month but in his first interview he says he became concerned about the Icelandic bank during a visit to Iceland in 2004.

Tony Shearer:
We had lunch with the President of Iceland, we had drinks with the Prime Minister, we met the Head of the Stock Exchange there, we met the Head of the Regulator there. There was a sort, aura around them, around Kaupthing, I mean, this was the major player, I forget what they were, 40, 50, 60% of the Icelandic Stock Exchange. This was the major player in the Icelandic economy and in Financial Services and they were all very, very proud of that. That concerned me because it seemed to me therefore that there wasn’t much independent thinking and when you looked at the composition of the Board it was all very similar people from an Icelandic background, I think there was one person who was either Swedish or Danish, but the rest were people from a relatively small pool who didn’t have much experience of either international matters or banking. The second thing was then going round the office and I spent a day going round the office, meeting people in the office, seeing who was heading up functions and so on. They weren’t people who had got any experience of international banking or international business.

Michael Buchanan:
And when the FSA were subsequently looking into whether they should allow effectively Kaupthing to buy your bank, you expressed all these reservations to the FSA?

Tony Shearer:
Yes.

Michael Buchanan:
And how did the FSA respond to your concerns?

Tony Shearer:
They weren’t particularly interested, that was my impression. I mean, it wasn’t just me, a number of my colleagues went and expressed their own views. In fact, one of the meetings I had with the FSA two of my other colleagues were there as well. But I think we all had the view that there wasn’t really much interest in the points we were making.

Michael Buchanan:
You and your colleagues, you were senior people at a British bank going to a British Regulator and saying, You really have to look closely at these people before you approve the takeover of our bank. And in fact the FSA ignored your concerns?

Tony Shearer:
Yes.

Michael Buchanan:
Subsequent to that, other senior managers at Singer & Friedlander went to the FSA and raised other concerns, so these concerns were not just raised by you and your colleagues in 2005, they were continuing through 2006 through to 2007?

Tony Shearer:
Yes. Obviously most of the concerns were raised in 2005 as you rightly say, not just by me, subsequently, erm, both the Heads of Risk and the Heads of Compliance were both asked to leave as well, and I’m, I’m, they both told me, they told me at the time that they went to the regulator, the FSA, and explained why they’d been asked to leave. Both of them had expressed concerns that the bank was being run, though it was a deposit-taking institution, it was being run as a sort of private equity fund.

Michael Buchanan:
What do you think the FSA should have done with all the concerns that were brought to their attention?

Tony Shearer:
I always remember we said amongst ourselves, that if anything ever went wrong with Kaupthing, and somebody went back over the FSA’s files, there’d be quite a lot of interesting material sitting on the files, and I believe that is the case. I think what the FSA should have done is taken more care before making the change of control approval. If they had accepted then that they should have made the change of control approval then they should have increased the monitoring. I mean, their response to my evidence to the Treasury Select Committee was to say: Yes, Mr Shearer did tell us about his concerns and so on but we consulted the Icelandic Regulator and we put in two non-executive Directors. I mean, to me consulting the Icelandic Regulators is a bit like asking Ronnie Biggs’s mother for a character reference on Ronnie Biggs. I mean, it was not the basis, if you wanted to do it then it seems to me that you’d say, Okay, let’s increase the surveillance, let’s increase the monitoring.

Michael Buchanan:
In your opinion, the FSA should not have allowed Kaupthing to buy Singer & Friedlander.

Tony Shearer:
I’m, I’m not necessarily going as far as that, I mean, in fact I think I probably am actually, but I think if they did do that then they should have increased their surveillance and monitoring afterwards. I mean, to say that you’ve appointed two non-executive directors on the board, and expect them to control the whole environment, and to counteract the things that we’d expressed concerns about, as part of the bigger group, seems to me be unrealistic.

Michael Buchanan:
Could you see the problems that subsequently developed at Kaupthing, Singer & Friedlander? Could you see them coming?

Tony Shearer:
Did I expect the bank to collapse in the way in which it did? I didn’t foresee it in that way but it struck me as being very likely would run into trouble.

Michael Buchanan:
Because the bank that you once ran became a far riskier bank and it was sooner or later going to run into problems because of that?

Tony Shearer:
Absolutely. I didn’t foresee the turbulent times that we’ve got now, that’s true, but any slight change in the times in making them less of a boom than we were having seemed to me to be one that would threaten the business model that they’d got. Absolutely.

Michael Buchanan:
Now I’ve spoken to the FSA this afternoon who’ve reiterated the statement they made when Mr Shearer appeared before Parliament, which says, in part:

It is important to note that the failure of Kaupthing, Singer & Friedlander related to different issues, in particular, the impact of the global financial crisis on the group’s liquidity.

Eddie Mair:
Michael. Thank you very much, Michael Buchanan, with an update on a story we’ve followed for some time on PM and on iPM.

53.22

Transcribed by Hoping and Coping

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Treasury Select Committee meeting 3-Feb-2009 audio (mp3)

This audio content is copyright 2009 UK Parliament
Approx. 2 hours duration. mp3.

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KSF depositor's story + audio + on Manx Radio Mandate Programme TODAY, 7.30 am UK time

Posted 22/12/2008 - 05:58 by Hoping and coping

2008-12-21 16

KSF depositor hit hard
21/12/2008 11:00:09

A Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander depositor in Sri Lanka is living with no money, electricity and transport because of the bank's collapse.

Barbara Segal moved to Sri Lanka four years ago, where she now runs an animal sanctuary and looks after over 70 dogs.

Her house was destroyed by the Boxing Day Tsunami four years ago, only three days after she had moved into it - but she says losing her life's savings is much worse.

She lists what she's lost since the KSF collapse in October (audio file attached):

There'll be more on this story in Mandate AM on Monday morning from 7.30am

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Gordon Brown Live on Radio 5 now

Posted 04/12/2008 - 13:12 by IanAbroad

2008-12-04 (All day)

Gordon speaks to the nation and takes questions

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House of Keys Question Time

Posted 25/11/2008 - 11:19 by Hoping and coping

2008-11-24 16

Use the Listen Again button, probably only once the programme has finished, for AM radio. (There's discussion of the UK Pre-Budget Report first, then they move into Question 1 on the agenda - Kaupthing.) I personally found it positive and heartening. Allan Bell sounded fully committed to the cause - which involves us getting our money back and the reputation of the Isle of Man - and emphasised that they are doing everything they possibly can to this end. They are clearly looking at all possibilities for restructuring the bank; they are looking for a further adjournment so as to provide time to consider the options available for restructuring and to permit a better return of our deposits; and they are also concerned to look after and find a solution regarding the needs of small depositors (with less than £50,000) - as soon as possible. He emphasised that the situation is complicated (as we know!), and asked for patience.

My overall feeling listening to Mr Bell was that someone IS fighting for us.

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MHK David Cannan questions to Treasury Minister - ringfencing funds UK

2008-11-18 (All day)

There were more exchanges in Tynwald today over the collapsed bank Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander.

Michael MHK David Cannan (pictured) questioned Treasury Minister Allan Bell about whether the Manx bank’s money - which is trapped in the United Kingdom – should have been ring-fenced:

LISTEN TO THE CLIP FROM THE BROADCAST!!! KSFIOM Directors claim deposit was properly deposited in UK (inference ringfenced

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Conservative Graham Brady, Liberal Democrat John Thurso and the committee's chair, Labour's John McFall, gave their reaction to the Chancellor's comments to TSC

Posted 09/11/2008 - 14:28 by Elpasout

2008-11-09 (All day)

Conservative Graham Brady, Liberal Democrat John Thurso and the committee's chair, Labour's John McFall, gave their reaction to the Chancellor's comments.

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Comments on the BBC from Treasury Select Committee members after 3/11 meeting

2008-11-07 (All day)

Conservative Graham Brady, Liberal Democrat John Thurso and the committee's chair, Labour's John McFall, gave their reaction to the Chancellor's comments. Even Labour's McFall was surprised by Darling's tax haven comment and they all understand, thanks to our efforts, that we are ordinary hard working savers, not tax evaders. A further investigation by the TSC is promised. Short but encouraging.

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John Aspden, IoM Financial Services Commission Chief, Interviewed on Manx Radio's Agenda Programme

2008-10-27 (All day)

Aspden discue discusses KSFIoM crisis and strategic options for banking on the Isle of Man. Celtic League member/Trade Unionist Bert Moffat criticises FSC for institutional incompetence.

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