On November 19, 2015, the final Review on the failure of HBOS plc was published by the Prudential Regulation Authority and the FCA. The Review assesses the strategy adopted by HBOS, how HBOS failed (focusing on asset quality, reliance on wholesale funding and capital), the role of management, governance and the culture of HBOS and the Financial Services Authority’s (the UK regulator at the time of the failure of HBOS) regulatory approach. The HBOS group was formed by the merger of the former Halifax Building Society and Bank of Scotland. Recommendations include: (i) a bank’s Board is responsible for ensuring a firm has a sustainable business model and for embedding the principle of safety and soundness in a firm’s culture. The Review notes that directors will have specific accountabilities for this under the Senior Managers Regime from March 7, 2016; (ii) the non-executive directors of a bank must have diverse experience and the capacity to challenge key business issues; (iii) senior managers should proactively seek to identify threats to the safety and soundness of their firm and notify the regulators when issues arise; (iv) regulators must be willing and able to intervene where necessary, free from undue influence; (v) the UK regulators should understand the scope of oversight provided by a local regulator for globally active banks to understand the extent of the reliance that they can place on local regulatory authorities; and (vi) UK regulators should be aware of potential conflicts of interest arising from the composition of their boards.
The Review and related documents are available at: http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/publications/Pages/news/2015/086.aspx.