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UK regulators pronounce on HBOS

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By Ian Fraser Published: Financial Intelligencer Date: 18 November 2015 Seven years since HBOS crashed and burned, we are about to find out why, from a report to be jointly published on Thursday morning by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority (part of the Bank of England). …

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Gavin Masterton and the riddle of Charlotte 18

In Blog by Ian Fraser2 Comments

September 17th, 2013 (updated with minor edits September 24th, 2013) Charlotte Eighteen, a shadowy company based in the tax secrecy jurisdiction of the British Virgin Islands, remains the subject of intense interest among Scottish football fans. Allegedly the holding company for the business assets of Gavin Masterton, the former treasurer …

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Scottish jobs market strengthens

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By Ian Fraser Published: Total Jobs Date: 25 July 2013 Totaljobs recently reported an unprecedented rise in job opportunities in Scotland. Financial journalist and author Ian Fraser explains why. As Scotland ponders whether to remain part of the UK ahead of next year’s independence referendum, its jobs market is humming. …

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Sir James Crosby, the ex HBOS boss, and the concept of mercy

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December 1st, 2012 In a comment piece in Saturday’s Times, financial editor Patrick Hosking gave ten reasons why the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards must show absolutely no mercy to the former HBOS chief executive James Crosby when he appears before it at 3.30pm on Monday afternoon. This is no time for faux deference, taking mendacious …

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Sir Ron Garrick fiddled while HBOS burned

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November 26th, 2012 (updated November 27th 2012) [Note: if the video of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards’ cross-examination of Sir Charles Dunstone and Sir Ron Garrick at the foot of this blog post starts to play, you need to scroll down to the bottom of this blog post to …

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Book review: Going for broke

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By Ian Fraser Published: Scottish Review of Books Date November 17th, 2012 It was intended as a memorial to the Scots who died in the Napoleonic Wars. But it wasn’t long before the incomplete replica of the Parthenon on Calton Hill was labelled ‘Edinburgh’s disgrace’. This was because the so-called National …

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Clydesdale’s retreat

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By Ian Fraser Published: Sunday Herald Date: 6 May 2012 It was supposed to be Scotland’s safe bank. What went wrong? By Ian Fraser Call it Cameron Clyne’s ‘Derby’ moment. At a council of war in that East Midlands city in 1745, Bonnie Prince Charlie had to concede that weak …

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John Kay on the illusory nature of bank profits

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16 April 2012 In this speech the economist and author John Kay examined how the financial sector continues to make — or claims to make — returns-on-equity which are way in excess of any reasonable estimate of cost of capital. Kay, a visiting professor at London School of Economics, examined various possible …

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Clydesdale’s claims to be a prudent lender ring hollow

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By Ian Fraser Published: Sunday Herald Date: 12 February 2012 From the perspective of its head office in Melbourne’s Bourke Street, National Australia Bank’s UK subsidiaries Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank are looking increasingly like dead weights at the moment. The Australian economy, where the Victoria-based bank has the bulk of …