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Hester got RBS back on an even keel

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By Ian Fraser Published: Daily Record Date: June 13th, 2013 Stephen Hester’s five years at the helm of Royal Bank of Scotland were nothing if not tumultuous. Under his predecessor, Fred Goodwin, retail banking operations were used as a cash cow to fund overseas expansion, staff were demoralised by a …

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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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Loss of trust

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By Ian Fraser Published: Signet Magazine Date: July 16th, 2012 (minor edits March 28th, 2013) Scottish banking was once renowned for prudential management. Today the association is rather different. Financial journalist Ian Fraser gives his view of events behind the collapse of RBS and HBOS and calls for a Leveson-style …

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The Royal Bank of Scotland’s world of pain

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By Ian Fraser Published: July 15th, 2012 Published: Sunday Herald In his glory days Fred Goodwin aspired to make Royal Bank of Scotland a global bank on which the sun never set. Corporate videos extolling the group’s global reach were routinely played at investor meetings. His legacy is a world …

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If Hector Sants gets the PRA job, it’ll be the ultimate reward for failure

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By Ian Fraser Published: QFINANCE Date: 15 February 2012 The Financial Services Authority’s chairman Lord Turner made a fairly staunch defense of FSA chief executive Hector Sants at a hearing of the Treasury Select Committee on January 30. But some of the MPs on the committee seemed unconvinced that Sants, who earned £807,000 as FSA chief …

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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 …