Bankers back in PM's tent

 

Goodness me, the prime minister has made the bold judgement that bankers have been sufficiently rehabilitated to appoint a couple of them as his business ambassadors.

As I understand it, the chairman of HSBC, Douglas Flint, and the chief executive of Santander UK, Ana Botin, will on Friday be announced as joining the ranks of business grandees chosen by David Cameron to sell the UK to the world.

Which is quite something. Since it is a while since the government wanted to be too closely associated with top bankers.

There is a nuance here of course. Which is that HSBC and Santander UK are those rarities, banks that got through the banking crisis without needing to be propped up by taxpayers.

As it happens, I've just interviewed the prime minister, who is in Davos lauding the attractions of the UK to overseas companies and investors.

You can see that interview later on the BBC, on the Six O'Clock News, and at Ten.

He was in ebullient mood, having just come from a meeting with Chinese financial institutions who were - he said - remarkably bullish about the UK's prospects.

And another thing. As you know, the UK is suffering from trade and current account deficits that are large and intractable.

Narrowing that gap hasn't been helped by the wounds - many of them self-inflicted - of our big international banks.

The prime minister is sending a message that he would rather like those wounds to heal.

 
Robert Peston, economics editor Article written by Robert Peston Robert Peston Economics editor

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  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 212.

    What a mistake, in my opinion, appointing Mr Wigley (ex chairman of hibu plc) as an ambassador to Mr Cameron. I wonder what more will be revealed in the coming weeks with respect to the debacle of hibu's (ex Yellow Pages) restructuring and the people and companies involved?

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 211.

    Somewhat ironic that Mr Wigley, of the Advisory Board of Cranfield School's Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, a Chairman of Oxford University’s Centre for Corporate Reputation, and a business ambassador to Mr Cameron, is at the same time referenced in Mr. Spanier's articles below. If true, what hope is there for corporate Britain. Surely this debacle should be a priority.

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 210.

    How to rid yourself of shareholders. Voluntary default (re hibu), hand the company over to lenders and get huge bonuses for doing it. What are the regulators doing? Sitting on their hands. Private investors beware!

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 209.

    Rip off Britain is alive and well I see.....CEO's awarding themselves huge bonus's without shareholder approval......no scrub that in "Hibu's" case WITHOUT shareholders.......Wigley's own bank in his own words "We are our own bank"......just not sure who the "Our" represents....oh yes his colleagues....silly me.

  • rate this
    +12

    Comment number 208.

    Well, every banker has a special niche of competence. Wigley seems to have specialised in making investors in his companies extremely poor.
    I wonder, is this lack of business acumen (ie just a useless professional) or somebody with a deliberate objective of ruthlessly making money at the expenses of people who put their money and trust in his enterprises?

    Well, we will see.

 

Comments 5 of 212

 

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