No end in sight for watchdog report on failure of HBOS

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THE BANK of England has declined to comment on speculation that a long-awaited report into the collapse of Halifax Bank of Scotland will be delayed until after the general election.

The report is being compiled by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA), the successor organisations to the Financial Services Authority (FSA).

It is still going through the process of “Maxwellisation”, in which individuals due to be criticised are offered the opportunity to comment before publication.

This legal process started in September 2012.

In comparison, Maxwellisation of a similar report into the collapse of RBS took seven months.

It was claimed today that the delay is due to wrangling about the roles of senior staff in the failure of HBOS.

Last summer, the FCA and PRA appointed a barrister, Andrew Green QC, to look at the reasonableness of the FSA’s enforcement investigations in relation to HBOS.

The FSA brought enforcement action against one former senior employee, Peter Cummings, who headed the lender’s corporate division. He was fined and banned from working in the City.

Lord Stevenson, former chairman, and former chief executives James Crosby and Andy Hornby have not been penalised by regulators, though they were criticised in a 2013 report from a Parliamentary Commission.

The collapse of the lender and its subsequent rescue cost the taxpayer £20bn and led to thousands of job losses.

The Bank of England would not comment on the timetable for the report.