Support Tony Shearer

  • anrigaut
  • 19/10/08 30/10/09
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Posted: Mon, 19/12/2011 - 12:27

Tony Shearer has spoken out (at last!) in the Daily Telegraph. Surely he deserves our support?

This was my comment (how about a few thumbs-up?):

Mr Shearer did “sound off” – equally forcefully if less
publicly - when he gave evidence to the Treasury Select Committee
into the Banking Crisis back in 2009. At the time, his evidence was
minimised by the Committee who, while finding it "laudable"
that Mr Shearer had (in 2005) brought to the attention of the FSA
his grave concerns over the takeover of Singer & Friedlander by
Kaupthing, carefully refrained from any direct criticism of the
operation of the FSA when they (generously and with no real evidence)
concluded that the FSA "[appeared] to have investigated these
concerns". In other words, they preferred to believe the facile
assurances of Hector Sants (who was not even there at the time of the
takeover) rather than the – to me compelling - evidence of the
former CEO of S&F.

In 2005, the FSA allowed the take-over of Singer & Friedlander
by Kaupthing, despite severe reservations expressed by Tony, then
CEO, and several other board members who warned the FSA that their
experience of Kaupthing and its management lead them to believe that
the Kaupthing management were “not fit and proper people to control
a UK bank”. Questioned on this by the Treasury Select Committee
into the impact of the failure of the Icelandic banks, Sants’
response was that the FSA was obliged to take the word of the
Icelandic regulator and was thus effectively impotent. A somewhat
astonishing admission, of little comfort to those who lost money as a

Tony's written evidence in several memoranda to the Committee was
not limited to the Kaupthing affair. In connection with RBS (and
other large banks), he wrote:

"... It is also a factor that these executives and
non-executive directors live in heady worlds with peerages,
knighthoods, feted by politicians and the media, membership of
Government think tanks, trips to and parties in Downing Street,
rewards beyond the dreams of avarice, and PR firms and departments to
obfuscate and to promote them as individuals. All of this makes them
believe that they have abilities and skills that they simply have
never had.

Coupled with the fact that they are surrounded by auditors, rating
agencies, lawyers, head-hunters, remuneration advisers, PR firms and
non-executives who want to earn fees and who are getting rich off
their patronage, and regulators who had come from the same
backgrounds, it is no wonder that the whole system has failed.

The Select Committee’s interviews with the Executives and former
Executives who are and were running our large banks showed that these
people still have absolutely no appreciation that running these very
large businesses was, and is, beyond their abilities. … ”

It seems to me that he said it all back then. But no-one was
willing to hear. Maybe he feels the time is now ripe. I do hope so.
What is surely needed though is not just the FSA investigating
itself, but a fully independent enquiry, something those of us who
lost money through the collapse of KSF have been demanding for the
last 3 years. But no-one listened to us – even less so than to

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