Responsibilities, resignations, retributions

Yet again we see industry calls for responsibility in office from those who regulate. Last month’s news that somebody in authority at the FCA had set in motion a market crash in provider firms shares, and should be seen to carry the can for failure on their watch, could be seen as a breath of fresh air.

But is it the right person in the frame? And who will decide?

The FCA has agreed to a rethink of its investigation into the release by a senior regulator of market-sensitive information, after being accused of“marking its own homework”.

TSC chairman Andrew Tyrie somewhat damningly said of the revised review:“It is crucial – now that the FCA’s non-executive directors have commissioned this inquiry – that neither they nor the board play any further role until Mr Davis (Clifford Chance) has completed his final report.

Hector Sants told the TSC he was not responsible for any failures of the organisation since 2007 saying” the failures in the last decade, both conduct and prudential, come from a wide variety of sources” but vitally not from him.

Martin Wheatley has not exactly leapt to defend Clive Adamson from what I have read and I am not sure if  “Nothing to do with me mate” would be a credible TSC defence.

What we seem to be lacking in society today is some leadership by way of acceptance of a sense of moral responsibility at least for the failings of an organisation they head up when something goes wrong that was within their stewardship.

I do not think we in the industry have witnessed that- yet!

Lord Adair Turner, once described by Kelvin McKenzie as “he of the ten-dollar haircut and the ten cent brain” arrived at the TSC telling them that making a regulator accountable would place a financial burden on the industry.

Why is it that those in an unelected position of power and authority fail to see that an element of responsibility should attach to that power? As Bernard Shaw once observed, “those who have once been intoxicated with power, and have derived any kind of emolument from it, even though but for one year, can never willingly abandon it”

Those who regulate must carry responsibility too because if there is no fear or sanction attaching to you doing “something really stupid, possibly knowing it was really stupid”, then all confidence is lost.

Shaw was right, “Power does not corrupt men; fools, however, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power”.

Just as an afterthought, an adviser sent me this last week from a CPD test, as he wisely observed, there should be an option 5- None at all.

Take That!

Who’s been a naughty boy then?

Gary Barlow is the latest potential gong returnee joining an ever lengthening line of celebrity ‘victims’ being hung out to dry for ‘sins various’, all determined by a baying social media fuelled mob and on this occasion under the direction of one Margaret Hodge MP, that self proclaimed leader of the tax paying great and the good.

Yes, that same multi-millionaire former Labour minister Margaret Hodge, who faced questions in November 2010 over the limited tax paid by Stemcor, the steel trading company of which she is a shareholder and which was founded by her father and is run by her brother.

Analysis of Stemcor’s accounts by the Daily Telegraph in their edition of 10thNovember 2012 reported that the business paid tax of just £163,000 on revenues of more than £2.1billion in 2011.

There is a growing trend in UKplc for the so-called ‘vulnerable’ and dispossessed social minority to exert undemocratic control over the enfranchised majority. It would seem that to get your voice heard and action taken today you should belong to a minority group of some sort, preferably with questionable ethnic, religious or ethical agendas ideally funded with government grants.

What did Gary do?

He and other bandmates invested in 2012, it is alleged, at least £26 million in what was referred to as an ‘aggressive tax avoidance scheme’, putting money into two partnerships, run by Icebreaker Management, styled as music-industry investment schemes, according to reports.

Judge Bishopp, in a High Court ruling, declared that the partnerships set up by Icebreaker Management were to secure tax relief for members, and HMRC is now expected to demand repayment.

Take That’s lawyers insisted the band mates believed the investments were legitimate enterprises and that all four named paid “significant tax”.

Most wealthy individuals got to be just that with a little talent, some good luck and an awful lot of specialist professional support looking for the best ways to secure and grow their wealth, no matter how it was obtained.

Mr. Barlow is, I suspect, only guilty of taking financial advice to best invest his millions and avoidance, no matter how aggressive is not illegal.

Let’s keep an eye on FSCS defaults in the coming months if his financial adviser finds him or herself in the firing line from Mr. B’s legal team.

I think there are plenty of others who should be higher up the ‘Return your gong’ list; perhaps you would like to suggest some.

Shall we start with Sir Hector?

What goes around as they say………