FCA & Andrew Bailey – Incompetent or worse?

Given recent FCA history this could become a daily piece, and with enough content to keep it going for several years.

In December 2018 Jim Fitzpatrick MP sent a letter to Andrew Bailey, CEO of The FCA on behalf of a constituent. Accompanying that letter was a two page Executive Summary, highlighting no less than 27 counts of alleged wrongdoing and/or criminality and/or money laundering by Lloyds Banking Group, KPMG and a business turnaround company by the name of Baronsmead Consulting.

This Executive Summary was supplemented by a 50 page report, expanding on each of the 27 allegations, and including significant and substantial evidence to support each.

For the record, we now have significant additional evidence to support these allegations and more besides, all of which has also been presented to The FCA, and all of which appears to have been similarly ignored.

Mr Bailey wrote this letter in response to Mr Fitzpatrick.

A typically vague response. A response that I believe was drafted in conjunction with Toby Hall, FCA lawyer. I have given Mr Hall, the opportunity to deny his involvement in the drafting of this response. He has chosen not to.

Note Bailey’s use of the term ‘appropriate’ when explaining what actions that The FCA might or might not take. The same term used by banks when defining pricing. In other words, a term that is open to flagrant abuse and interpretation as to what defines ‘appropriate’.

In this case, and to date, The FCA has taken no action whatsoever.

On March 9th 2020, I submitted a Freedom Of Information request to The FCA. It asked:

  1. “Which of the 27 acts of wrongdoing, failings or criminality within that document (the Executive Summary & Report) is The FCA and Mr Bailey claiming falls outside of The FCA Scope as per Mr Bailey’s letter of 23rd January 2019 to Jim Fitzpatrick MP.”
  2. “Precisely what part of this case is different from the HBOS Reading case of the Turner’s and their company, in which it is well documented that the FSA/FCA intervened on behalf of the Turner’s and their company, and that ultimately saw the Turners handsomely compensated.”

When I say there Turners were ‘ultimately compensated’, I mean only following protracted distress and eventual fraud convictions.

I submitted that on March 9th. The FCA has 20 working days in which to provide the information.

HOWEVER, every 20 working days since, The FCA has sent me an email stating the following:

“The FCA is still not in a position to reply to your request, as a decision has yet to be reached on the balance of public interest in respect of the information you seek.  It is therefore necessary to extend the date for responding to you.”

IMPORTANTLY, The FCA is stating that the only reason for delay is considerations as to the information being in the Public Interest to provide.

Really?

Let’s consider that for a moment.

After the LC&F collapse, and the discovery by thousands of investors that The FCA was claiming that their investment fell outside of their ‘regulatory perimeter’, The FCA was forced to acknowledge that it was VERY MUCH IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST to better define The FCA regulatory perimeter.

Indeed, The FCA regarded this as so important for the consumer and public interest that they launched their first annual FCA Perimeter report in June 2019. Accompanying this report were the following statements by thenCEO Bailey, now Governor of The Bank of England:

‘We appreciate that the current perimeter is complicated. The boundary between which firms and activities do or don’t require regulation, is being constantly tested. The recent behaviour of some firms operating around the perimeter has caused serious consumer harm and reduced trust in regulated financial services markets.”

“It is tested by the actions of particular firms and how those actions can harm consumers, for instance by firms innovating and creating new product offerings and services and by firms deliberately trying to avoid our perimeter.”

This MUST include actions whereby FCA regulated banks instruct non-regulated firms to do their dirty work for them, or in conjunction with them. The Trojan horses so to speak. Typically, the likes of their Panel of ‘Insolvency firms’, and their ‘preferred’ Business Turnaround companies.

My FOI request was specifically asking The FCA to define which of the 27 allegations and counts of wrongdoing, criminality or money laundering fell within The FCA Regulatory Perimeter and those that fell outside.

The FCA MUST know the answer, because Bailey (and I presume Hall) wrote this letter to a UK MP, and could only have done so after assessing each of the 27 allegations on this very issue.

How can they possibly claim the reason for not yet answering a question specific to the definition of The FCA Regulatory Perimeter, is due entirely to considerations as to Public Interest, when The FCA themselves state that it is in the public interest to define the regulatory perimeter?

As for the second question. The FCA eventual intervention on behalf of the Turners is a matter of public record. The case to which my FOI applies involves Lloyds Bank, KPMG & David Crawshaw, all parties involved in or associated with the HBOS Reading fraud that the Turners and their company was a victim of,

How is it not therefore in the public interest for The FCA to explain why it intervened on behalf of one victim and not another?

Is it because in the case to which my FOI applies, Lloyds Bank were the principle perpetrators of the crime?

Is it because in this case, and all other Lloyds Bank BSU cases nationwide since January 2009 (and RBS GRG cases), that The FCA and Mr Bailey have gone to such extraordinary lengths to ignore or conceal the wrongdoing and/or criminality, that they simply have no choice but to continue to conceal and whitewash, in the hope to avoid this being exposed, and avoid possible prosecution for misconduct in public office or worse?

Mr Bailey was after all asked by the Treasury Select Committee if there was any evidence of conduct similar to GRG elsewhere in the industry. Bailey answered by saying that evidence beyond GRG and HBOS Reading was ‘patchy’.

‘Patchy?’ Really? Let’s consider that for a moment.

The public record now shows that Lloyds Bank knew all there was to know about HBOS Reading, including the involvement/association of David Crawshaw & KPMG, by January 2009.

I remind you all that all regulated firms and professionals MUST report even in the suspicion of wrongdoing, criminality and/or money laundering.

Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that Lloyds Bank BSU would sever all ties with anyone associated with or connected to the HBOS Fraud and money laundering.

So, I investigated to see how many times Crawshaw and KPMG were appointed by Lloyds Bank as administrators AFTER January 2009. Surely, the answer would have to be none, right?

According to public records, between January 2009 and his ‘retirement’ in 2013, Lloyds Banking Group/HBOS appointed Crawshaw of KPMG as administrator for 30 companies.

Companies House records, where available, confirm that on each occasion Crawshaw & KPMG was appointed administrator, it was also Crawshaw & KPMG that had been brought in by the bank to conduct the ‘IBR’ (Independent Business Review). Far from ‘Independent’, this was the process used to depress the value of these businesses, and enable the bank to pursue whatever agenda suited it.

These are my ‘raw’ summary details from my investigation.

This summary and the more detailed notes and findings for each were presented to The FCA. The detailed notes include significant details as to how Lloyds and KPMG had ‘engineered’ the demise of these companies.

This is just one Partner at one of the Big 4. Hardly ‘patchy’ is it?

We believe that these cases are the tip of a very large iceberg of over 2,000 cases involving Lloyds BSU where companies have been the subject to the same or similar wrongdoing and/or criminality and/or money laundering that was evident in the HBOS Reading fraud and within RBS GRG.

Internal Lloyds BSU documents even detail how they trained the BSU teams nationwide as to “how to generate value thereby increasing the equity value” and to focus on “entry pricing – buying the business at low value”.

The only way to generate profit from ‘low value entry pricing’ is to depress the value of the asset (The Company) in which you want to take a stake and therefore profit from.

Time and again we see Lloyds and other lenders work in tandem with their ‘preferred’ partners or Trojan Horses to ‘engineer’ low valuations of assets. Valuations that are often so inconceivable, that they must be dishonest.

Bailey and The FCA have seen all of our evidence and the Lloyds BSU internal documents including the Matt Packham Business Plan and Packham’s performance review documents, that details the dishonest strategy, and have done…… nothing.

I presented a draft of this article to Mark Steward & Toby Hall of The FCA, The FCA Press Office and the Bank of England Press Office on Thursday afternoon. I gave them the appropriate 24 hours to provide a challenge to any of the above in terms of factual accuracy and/or provide a comment for inclusion.

The FCA and the Bank of England CHOSE not to challenge any of the content as to factual accuracy, or challenge any questions.

More in this in coming weeks.

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