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Goodwin: The final pension sum

Robert Peston | 15:33 UK time, Thursday, 18 June 2009

With any luck this will be my last word on the issue of Sir Fred Goodwin's pension.

Sir Fred GoodwinFirst, it is possible to do a calculation that shows he has given up all the enhancement to the value of his pot that came when he left by mutual agreement rather than being sacked.

Here's the maths.

His enhanced pot at the end of 2008 was worth £16.6m.

Without the enhancement, the pot would have been worth £10.2m (this is not a number that has ever been published).

The gap between the two is therefore £6.4m.

Today he is giving up £4.7m.

And in October he gave up around £2m in contractual pay and further associated pension contributions.

Hey presto: the gap is closed.

Which is the sort of calculation that really matters to the government, because it was so adamant that Sir Fred should only receive his contractual minimum.

However the rest of the world will note that his contractual minimum - a £2.7m tax-free lump sum (worth £4.5m before tax) and £342,500 per annum - is pretty handsome.

Second, while it is the case that RBS's internal review found no evidence of wrongdoing or misconduct by Sir Fred, the bank was advised by leading counsel that there was a reasonable legal basis for suing him for the return of some of the pension pot - and Sir Philip Hampton, RBS's chairman, told Sir Fred he was happy to seem him in court.


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  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    'Today he is giving up £4.7m. '

    Gee, he's such a nice fellow aint he :-)

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    Give the guy a break, everyone. He did something good in his least he must have. Surely...

  • Comment number 5.

    The audacity of those involved is quite frankly staggering. The fact that Mr Darling now considers this matter 'resolved' is unbelievable. Allowing a man whose incompetence has plunged each and every tax payer into a whole new world of pain should not be rewarded with a £2.7 million lump sum and nigh on £350,000 PA for the rest of his life.

    I can but pray nightly to the god that killed Cane and squashed Samson that this lot will be out on the ears come next year. Clearly the BBC know that they will be, as i see Sir Alan will be allowed to host next years apprentice.

  • Comment number 6.


    I hate to be the one to point out mistakes but shouldn't this read:
    "However THOSE OF YOU BACK IN THE REAL WORLD world will note that his contractual minimum - a £2.7m tax-free lump sum (worth £4.5m before tax) and £342,500 per annum - is pretty handsome"

    If there is one state pensioner out there who isn't shaking with rage right now there is something seriously wrong.

  • Comment number 7.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 8.

    " With any luck this will be my last word on the issue of Sir Fred Goodwin's pension. "

    Nice laugh Pesto.

  • Comment number 9.

    Good job too - just a shame it took 'leading counsel', and with it no doubt tens of thousands of pounds of public and private money to persuade Goodwin to do the right thing in the end.

  • Comment number 10.

    The timing of this seems interesting. Lays further pressure onto MP's as there is no 'big bad wolf' to share the public anger. In fact, s.Fred is now the lesser of two evils in the publics view.

  • Comment number 11.

    First decent decision he's made and obviously with his own best interests at heart.

  • Comment number 12.

    When this story first broke, Gordon Brown trashed Goodwin's reputation in public so thoroughly that Goodwin in effect admitted that he would never be able to work in the sector again.

    Does this now mean that we can expect a public apology from the Prime Minister to Sir Fred Goodwin? Technically as Brown was NEVER his employer he had no right to say anything at all about Goodwin - the activity of the bank yes, but to the person is it not libel/slander?

  • Comment number 13.

    There is still a case to take him to court, and that's exactly what should happen.

  • Comment number 14.

    The 2.7m he took as a lump sum can be invested in many places to receive interest at 5%, therefore realising an extra 135k per year.

  • Comment number 15.

    I agree - I am a state pensioner and I am shaking with rage. We used to humiliate wrongdoers in public - putting him in the stocks would be appropriate, don't you think? - and I think it is time we did something of the sort to Fred the Shred. But the best thing of all would be to take all his RBS pension away (let him keep anything he transferred in when he joined) and then see how he likes it!

  • Comment number 16.

    Thats great but what about all these MP's that have claimed expenses surely they have to give money back???

  • Comment number 17.

    This shows the mess that this country is really in after many years of New Labour. The State pension is an insult to people while this bastion of the Establishment walks away from abject failure with a monarch's ransom. Come the revolution, not many months to go...

  • Comment number 18.

    Goodwin deserves nothing for helping to destroy our financial system with risk. He is rich enough anyway. I wouldn't give him more than £20,000 per year, and it is us taxpayers who now own RBS and should dictate how much he gets.

  • Comment number 19.

    I hope this is not the last word because we still have no answers as to how it was possible that Goodwin was able to walk away with £16.6 million on this government's watch in the first place.

  • Comment number 20.

    So, having wrecked his company, and also having helped bring his country to the brink of ruin, he and his family have still managed to join the landed and financial aristocracy.

    Meanwhile, what consolation is there for those ordinary people whose lives have been ruined by his incompetence? I'm reminded of a cartoon with a father and son standing outside the the gates of Blenheim Palace. The caption was: "One of these days my son, none of this will be yours either!"

    And no, I'm not jealous - Personally, I've more than enough for all my needs and most of my wants. But I am very angry that Goodwin does not share the fate of those he has ruined, and that he retains his title - even if it is no longer perceived as an honour.

  • Comment number 21.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 22.

    How about extending the same principles to the house of commons. Are we going to see any of the pension back from those MP's who have been deselected and who are refusing to quit until the next election? of course not. As always there is one rule for politicians and another for everyone else. In fact quite a few politicians helped the crisis to happen as well as the banks and at least 2 of them, currently residing in number 10 and number 11 downing street, are every bit as guilty as Sir Freddy, but will be rewarded with a big pension and lots of allowances for years to come. The other lot are no better. I have to get my own wisteria out but on the bright side I don't have to fix my swimming pool because I can't afford a house with one!

  • Comment number 23.

    Hey - listen up people... his pension was built up over many years. Agreed, he shouldn't get any extra bonus for what he did at RBS but for years before that, he was working and paying pension contributions etc. He didn't get this whole pension pot off RBS only.

    Yes, he messed up and has caused a lot of damage... but so have a lot of other people in this whole fandango. And as others have pointed out in the past, his excesses were all 'waved on' by Blair, Brown and the climate of the times...

    It's painfully obvious that he's being used as the classic scapegoat and deflecting the attention from the government. It's sad to see so many people on this blog swallowing it hook line and sinker.

    Last point: Fred should not have given the money back to RBS but should have donated it to a worthy cause which would provide real benefit. Putting it back into the grubby hands of the bankers is a waste of time. GIVE IT TO THE POOR FRED! SPREAD THE WEALTH!!!

  • Comment number 24.

    No doubt he is just getting bored at home, misses the cut and thrust of the boardroom etc so have offered an olive branch to the public in the hope that some of his mates will then be able to employ him.

    Just wait and see.. he will make his 4m back with his first bonus payment.

  • Comment number 25.

    It seems that Sir Phil has won the eyeballing, with Sir Fred having one hand loosened from his pension pot and only clutching £2.7m cash and £342,000 per annum, scant reward for the public. What's the betting on Gordon congratulating all on a job well done in another of his myopic utterances, he has just about the worst serial political judgement I have come across in ages or his advisors have, which he must have chosen. I am sure he is a decent man but who cares when our money, not Gordon's nor Fred's is being used to soften the landing of high profile execs as they are ejected from the boardroom and land comfortably on their feet. If they can afford to give away these sums willy-nilly to people who have mismanaged why are they not contemplating taking them to court to publicly account for their actions and give the public the right of redress? We surely can't be much worse off and at least we would have some chance of justice.

  • Comment number 26.

    We should, as tax payers, stop worrying about one man. He has abided by the minimum terms of his commercial employment contract. Draw a line in the sand. The fact is we bailed out a privately owned bank (in fact several). There is red ink all over the Red Book. We know that, and we will be paying for it for decades. It was the lesser of two evils, the other too horrible to contemplate.

    More importantly for our democracy, what about a full independent forensic tax investigation of 648 MP'sm supervised by HMRC, now that the expenses details are published, embellished by the work of the Daily Telegraph journalists under FOIA? Strikes me that there must be a few situations that might breach either the ICTA, Theft Act, Fraud Act or other fiscal legislation (in any combination) by at least one or more of our MP's. In a private company, actions taken against miscreants would have been swifter and more severe with the law of the land as the ultimate arbiter. All of us have to abide by the law, including 648 in Westminster Village.

    Will the new speaker in the Commons be brave and instigate this to reinvigorate British democracy?

  • Comment number 27.

    I have just had a small pension from Nortel reduced by 10% as Nortel have gone bust and I took my reduced pension before normal retirement age. Fred Goodwin's pension was not reduced for going 10 years early as it should have been but if RBS were to go bust would his pension then come under the PPF rules. I would be suprised if it did. What has also incensed me in all of this is that Pension schemes are said to be in the red, mainly due to the pension holidays almost forced on companies by the Thatcher government and companies such as BT using the pension funds to support severance schemes. The RBS pension scheme has been used to support Fred Goodwins severance, with him getting way above A-day tax free lump sums and no reduction for early retirement, at least the reduction he has agreed goes some way to meeting the latter. Fred Goodwin does not deserve to be lauded at all for supposedly doing the right thing he should have done it months ago!

  • Comment number 28.

    Just as a matter of interest could you ask your source : what is the legal bill for advice to both UKFI and RBS in avoiding the loss of face, as the government saw it. Could you include in that figure legal advice bills to HM Treasury and ministers on the same issues as well as an indication of the hours spent by public servants and UKFI employees on the issue...we can then assess what the position to the taxpayer would have been in if Goodwin had been moved without the over generous treatment in the first place

  • Comment number 29.

    There was some debate just now on the Jeff Randall Show about whether Sir Fred would get a job in the future. The popular view was that he could now go on to become an allright guy, but not run another bank. The agreement was that he had done nothing illegal over his pension pot.

    I think it is all very sad, particularly for the RBS workers and shareholders. The deal to buy ABN Amro was just as bad as the LLoyds takeover of HBOS, although in the Lloyds case they knew what they were doing. Sir Fred thought he was a King, rather like Lord Snooty, but got his come-uppance and we all found that he was out of his depth. He was a darling of Gordon Brown, which probably explains where he got all his charisma from.

    The sad thing would be if he went around from golf course to golf course rather like OJ did - he might even get into St Andrews after all now that he has done the right thing according to AD.

  • Comment number 30.

    Sir Fred is about to receive the benefits to which he is entitled based
    on taking RBS to the fifth biggest bank in the world. Hope the Government will now leave him and tackle those FLIPPING MPs who I truly believe are 100 times worse than Sir Fred by their conduct!

  • Comment number 31.

    I am going to have to stay silent with regard to this matter....

  • Comment number 32.

    Well he is still laughing all the way to the bank, probably a swiss one now :-)

  • Comment number 33.

    Surely he should receive no more than he was entitled to had RBS gone to bankruptcy? He rolled his contributions into the RBS scheme. This would have made him a creditor like me and many thousands of other shareholders who have seen our investment wiped out by his actions as CEO.

  • Comment number 34.

    I suspect a stitch-up. Mr 'Supendouswin' was probably given a choice: hand back a reasonable chunk of your pension or lose your Knighthood. Furthermore, I bet he will come back with a nice little chairmanship of some obscure QUANGO - just to sweeten the deal.

  • Comment number 35.

    What is really a cause for anger is that Goodwin is only in the frame because the inevitable result of his incompetence came about on his watch. There are thousands more who are quietly milking the companies they direct and hoping that they will be well away before the brown stuff hits the fan. Meanwhile down at LDV and elsewhere wealth-creators are being sent down the river despite many years of decent, hard-working, conscientious service.

    The era of stripping companies to the bone to pay boardroom salaries and bonuses has to stop. If the parasites dont like it they can go abroad. Oh sorry, foreign companies don't want our monoglot, incompetent clowns who expect staggering salaries for mediocre performance. They have much better managers and directors who funnily enough don't seem to need the huge rewards our home-grown thieves demand.

  • Comment number 36.

    Why should Goodwin receive a penny?
    If I fouled up in a job even with an impact of a few thousand pounds, I would be fired for incompetence without anything.

    Also, why is Goodwin allowed to ever be a director or non-exec ever again? He cost billions to this country and lost shareholders a packet all for his own greed and vanity. Anyone with a brain could see his merger / takeover plans would fail. They did fail and now he should be held accountable.

    This is yet further evidence of the club for the trough-pigs in parliament, civil service and the big corporates.

  • Comment number 37.

  • Comment number 38.

    The UK has a developed economy. As such the money makers work in banks and other money making institutions.
    It should come as no surprise that bank bosses have big pensions.
    Night follows day.

    The big question is how long can the UK cling on to its developed economy status.
    The bankers do not care of course. As far as they are concerned it is and always has been full steam ahead.

  • Comment number 39.

    Has the question been asked about the number of share option Sir Fred was granted in 2008.
    The arrogance of the man suggests that although he has given up approximatley one third of his pension, I dare say that he has calculated that within five years he will more than make up this portion of his pension pot through gains from cashing in these share options in a few years.
    I would be very up set to see news head lines in 2014 when RBS has regained its former status and Sir Fred walks away with another £5Million or more.

  • Comment number 40.

    I think it is a disgrace that he should be reduced to only receiving £342,000. Why not reduce it to a regular bank manager's pension or less?
    This strikes me as another get out by the government. A Scottish bank fails again, run by Scotsmen. Repetition of earlier mistakes. Surely history teaches us lessons! James D.

  • Comment number 41.

    Robert, on your calcualtion of employing 20 people in NatWest bank re Sir Fred pension give up, for what duration would those people be emplyed?

  • Comment number 42.

    Oh dear; This hystericql stuff on Goodwin from Peston sounds just like Janet Street-Porter (do stop poking that finger in that absurd way - c'est a se tordre de rire). Of course he should cede it, but it was a contractual entitlement before he was sacked by the Treasury. Sorry but Peston has very little news now.

  • Comment number 43.

    It is a small sacrafice. I am employed by a bank but I doubt my pension will be doubled when I retire even if I don't put a foot wrong. Why do some of us bother doing the right thing when it pays to bend the rules especially when you can walk away with a safe full of cash and then move to the South of France for a dandy rich life.

    Just a reminder to all those tax payers who insist they bailed out the banks. If it wasn't for tax payers not paying back their loans that they were happy to take then the banks wouldn't have to write them off as bad debts and we wouldn't be in this mess. Too much living for today and not worrying about tomorrow has come back to bite us.

  • Comment number 44.

    Just a few comments:

    1) My uncle met and temporarily worked with Sir Fred in the early 1980s at an accountancy firm which I won't name here but it's mentioned in other articles. According to him, Goodwin was always very ambitious, career minded, knew how to get what he wanted and the main reason RBS jumped in to grab ABN Amro was because Goodwin wanted to show off his business prowess and show Barclays who was boss. It seems to have been somewhat personal and it ended up in Goodwin losing £5m of his own money and one of the world's greatest financial institutions falling over.

    2) As abhorrent as the amounts involved are, he is entitled to it and he has earned it over a period of many years in charge of what was once the world's top dog in banking. It was a high pressure, high prestige job and many others have the same agreements which are yet to go public.

    3) The £342k is taxable income like anything else, I'm told, which means in reality it's closer to £200k. Alastair Darling quite clearly had Fred Goodwin in mind when he brought in the new 50p in the pound for >£150k in this year's budget.

    4) I think the whole thing is a bit fishy. Goodwin was defiant right up until today when he suddenly caved, that doesn't sound right. I think he was threatened or backed into a corner in some way that the media don't know about i.e. he was threatened with losing his knighthood or RBS had the legal means to sue him into the ground with even more damage to his reputation if he didn't comply (as it now seems RBS do in fact have the legal basis to sue him if they wanted to). I think keeping his pension at that was a reasonable step down to buy his silence because stopping the whole thing would have looked even more suspicious. Gordon Brown has been looking for an excuse for ages to legitimately scalp Goodwin in public and I think he's now found said excuse, and apparently authorities in the US are examining RBS business activities over there on Goodwin's watch, so Fred has to wait potentially a couple of years before he knows whether or not he is going to be dragged out to the US and sued. I think the possibility of that is punishment enough because, let's face it, the Americans will sue him for literally everything he has and then some.

    This is the end of the affair. Fred Goodwin's reputation is now in tatters and he will likely now keep his head down for many, many years to come. The Government and media are out to crucify him and he certainly doesn't have any friends in the general public outside of his own inner circle, plus it appears even his former colleagues hate him and there is nowhere else to go. Even if he has been subverted in some way against his wishes, he won't go public with it because he knows nobody will listen.

    I don't understand how you can even begin to enjoy money like that when you're a complete pariah. However long he has that money, that is; like I say, I wouldn't want to be him if the Americans decide to sue. I don't like him or his pension arrangements either, but I can't help but feel sorry for him because money can't buy you happiness when it seems his personal life has been turned upside down.

  • Comment number 45.

    Mr P,

    As Business reporter of BBC, perhaps you would like to run a story on the 900 refinery staff just sacked?

    I think there will be serious repercussions over this, fill your tanks all.

  • Comment number 46.

    I realy do not think that this makes any difference to how people think of Fred or the government or the banks, simple fact is we have a bunch of morons running things and making huge amounts of money for nothing, absolutly zero. In fact it is worse than zero because their inept and less than able abilities have cost ordinary, only worth minimum wage, tax payers very dear.

    No better than Somali pirates, who until recent interventions, never harmed any one, in their endevour to secure profit for the good of all in Somalia !?. No government intervention and self regulation in Somalia led to piracy. No government intervention and self regulation in the banking sector led to piracy in the UK/World.

    We condem, shoot, lock up the pirates of Somalia, when will we do the same to our pirates.

  • Comment number 47.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 48.

    It was a witch hunt when it started, and still it drags on, cathartic maybe but not reality

    He is one man, of many many maybe, but nothing special. There are many more that have not had this humiliation and personal attacks, but have personally done more harm for all of us. Hedge fund managers anyone?
    His pension is a red herring. A drop in the ocean. Many others who have done so much more damage to the economy, are not subject to this same diatribe

  • Comment number 49.

    I'm really sorry that he's given anything back.

    Nothing to do with whether he deserves it or not. That's not the point. I make no comment on that.

    But the deal was agreed fair and square. If he should have been given less, blame those that agreed to pay it, and make them refund the money.

    Honourable people do not go back on deals.

    An analogy. A man buys a car. He doesn't do enough research beforehand, and pays more than he needs. Later he realises he could have got the same model cheaper elsewhere. He is a fool.

    When he realises his mistake, would he go back to the seller and say, "I paid too much!", thereby appearing an even bigger fool?
    Would he demand a partial refund?
    Would he get it?

    Not likely!

  • Comment number 50.

    I don't fully know the in's and out's of this....not sure that I care to. However, let's move on - this man is not the ENTIRE cause of the problems on his own although some might enjoy blaming it on him. A symptom he is, part of the cause possibly, but entirely responsible - sadly no. Look further, he is merely another scapegoat.

  • Comment number 51.

    What a mega mess! Just out of interest, how many of the whinning winnies on this blog actually voted for Labour in the last 10 years

    Time for you lot to hold your hands up and apologise to the rest of us, as well.

  • Comment number 52.

    Just a quick response to 50 and 51. I don't think he is a scapegoat; a symptom? And I don't think whether one voted Labour or Conservative would have made any difference at all. The governments of the richer part of the world need to buck up and do their respective jobs which is to oversee (referee) the social structures they control, and not become "imbedded" in any of the large players in society,the poor or the rich.

  • Comment number 53.

    We really need to move on from focussing on FG and think about root cause. We have an unhealthy obsession in the UK with seeking to blame someone for everything in the belief that this will put things right. Unfortunately it doesn't. In well run businesses major incidents, mistakes, malpractices, accidents etc are investigated thoroughly and the ROOT CAUSE is addressed. The financial system that allows a large number of people to take huge sums of money from all of us in the UK is still pretty much intact. Also the lack of controls that got us into the mess we are is also unchanged, so despite all the prattling on in the media about the justice or otherwise of what FG gets and blaming people, all this will happen again in a few years time. In the meantime the Uk financial system will continue to serve the interests of the people in that industry, not us. It will continue to cream off huge sums of money from us through current accounts, investment back handers, hidden commisssions, insider dealing, short term bonusses that fuel inappropriate investment of our money, etc all self regulated! FG is just the tip of the iceberg, City bosses are breathing a huge sigh of relief and laughing all the way to your bank account.

  • Comment number 54.

    I am sure that the Government will now consider that the 'Sir Fred Goodwin pension scandal' is now closed as he has agreed to reduce his 'pension pot'. A very honourable guesture and one which sets a fine example. The sad thing is that it seems that Sir Fred and many others just like him consider that they are a different breed of men to ordinary everyday people. I was recently made comulsary redundant through no fault of my own and received a pittance. Why should high profile failures like Sir Fred get anything at all. After all he is still only around 50 years old and should look for another job.

  • Comment number 55.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 56.

    Re: The Final Sum:
    I think you miss the point Mr Peston.
    The thing people find offensive about Fred Goodwins right to have his nose firmly in the trough is the gross disparity between Them that do and Us that don't. No matter how hard a person works or how bright they may be, fairness demands a limit on the share of the common pot they should be allowed in common decency to take. It's not about the maths of decadent Capitalism, it's about a return to the rule of natural justice, sharing responsibility and revolutionary change.

  • Comment number 57.

    Why is he still 'Sir' Fred. Will he have to wait until the New Year for his peerage ?

  • Comment number 58.


    Do you mean that he has been black-balled?

  • Comment number 59.

    The Tories have been strangely quiet on this one. I wonder why? Is it because having a go at the downright greedy goes against the grain?
    Well done Robert for actually bothering to do the maths when many have not. However as i said in a post sometime ago why do we not have criminal laws that would treat financial mismanagement as a crime that has endangered the nation. This type of mismanagement is no different to the financial misery caused by the importation of drugs. We go after drugs barons for their assets why not failed financial barons. In some way these peoples "crimes" are actually worse lets face it you dont have to do drugs, but you do have to bank.

  • Comment number 60.

    44. British_Lion

    Actually, I can't understand how anyone can claim Sir F was 'entitled' to his rewards as, when push comes to shove, he as RBS's Chief Executive Officer pushed it 'over the brink' AND, in so doing, nearly brought down the entire UK banking system. (In fact would have done had the Government not thrown huge amounts of taxpayers' money at saving it).

    I also disagree about the reputation in tatters bit. The old pals act in the City is renowned. He'll show up in someone's boardroom before all that long, in some guise or other.

  • Comment number 61.

    There is one redeeming feature to this whole sorry episode instead of whacking off RBS share holders, hes decided to whack off every taxpayer in the UK; sharing is good, isnt it?

  • Comment number 62.

    59. At 09:47am on 19 Jun 2009, alanfrench wrote:

    "The Tories have been strangely quiet on this one. I wonder why?"

    Cameron is probably planning to make him a Lord and bring him into their Cabinet, after the next election, in much the same way as Alan Sugar was by Brown!

  • Comment number 63.

    If no one has asked this before, are the people responsible for designing Sir Fred's remuneration package, still employed at or by RBS? If so why?

  • Comment number 64.

    Everyone has a reason to be angry at the banks, but where were all the protests and morals when the capital growth of the shares was sky high and the dividends were giving good returns. No one cared because we everyone is greedy. And Fred Goodwin was making everyone richer.

    Now the same shareholders are angry and outraged by the loss of their wealth, but I bet they are still buying up cheap bank shares in the hopes the good times will return! I have very little sympathy for them.

    It's time to move on, stop the recriminations and the finger pointing and just fix the damn problem.

  • Comment number 65.

    I have to disagree with PrisonerNumber6 in that an investigation of MP's expenses may breach tax laws etc. and lead to some prosecutions and shaming, welcome though it may be, but what the bankers did in their mismanagement affects us all for possibly decades. The MP's obfuscation has annoyed and outraged us all but the bankers who mismanaged through greed, lack of experience or deliberate unwarranted risk taking has put the livelihood of millions of older and newer workers directly on the line. We will be paying for this for some time both financially and in the direction many careers will either divert or cease altogether. If those who mismanaged were taken to task then future monitoring of the financial sector would a much easier process by the under resourced FSA and co.

  • Comment number 66.

    Giving up £200,000 a year may seem a lot but it is peanuts to a man such as Fred Goodwin his offer should be rejected and he should be made to pay back the rest of the money he shouldn't have taken. He brought the bank to it's knees and all he was interested in was getting as much as possible for himself before he decided to leave, I think it shows exactly the type of person he was and is. He should also be stripped of his title "Sir" as this title is a form of respect and I don't think there are any people about who have any respect for him.

  • Comment number 67.

    he gives up a percentage to make himself look less miserly but to be honest he is a cad and a bounder and thus his epitaph will read.

  • Comment number 68.

    The point is that the RBS pension scheme was underfunded. £800M of the bailout money from the taxpayer was used to plug the hole in the RBS pension scheme. The scheme was making commitments it could not honour and a big chunk of the taxpayer bailout is making sure the bankers like Sir Fred get their pensions.

    Suppose a small business set up a pension scheme, promised the managing director massive pension entitlements but never funded it adequately, then when it went bankrupt in the recession asked the givernment to bail out its pension scheme. Would it happen?

    The whole bank bailout thing is disgusting, its blackmail against the taxpayer - give us what we want or we will destroy everything. The banks should have been put through a fast track liquidation just like GM, the bondholders should have taken a haircut or swapped debt for equity, the staff should have had their pension entitlement slashed to what the fund could afford and there should have been renegotiation of all employment contracts on a 'take it or your redundant and we are bankrupt so there is no money to pay any severance' basis.

  • Comment number 69.

    44: Quite right. What has probably happened is that he has been threatened with being sued all the way up to House of Lords (legal bill say £2m of which he might eventually get £1-1.3m of that back). Which will take 3-4 years during which time he will be unable to work. The fact that is highly unlikely any court action would succeed against him is irrelevant to this govts wish to be vindictive. Total net cost to Fred (assuming he can find a new job at say £500K pa plus options and another pension) probably not far short of the £4m he has given up.

    60: Of course he was entitled - it was in his contract of employment, legal entitlements and moral right are 2 different things. This is the UK and not (despite Gordon and Harriet Harperson) a tin pot dictatorship, you can change the law if you like but it only effect things done after you pass the law not before

  • Comment number 70.

    Wow, only about £6k per week.

    I have about the same, per year that is, I could have ruined the bank and the economy for much less than Goonwin did.

    Why wasn`t I asked, didn`t they put it out to tender, typical insider dealing and jobs for the boys if you ask me.

  • Comment number 71.

    I fully understand the anger at Sir Fred's pension pot, which was obscene. However, it is a million miles between a criminal act and an act of incompetence/mismanagement. Sir Fred was feted in his time, particularly by Gordon Brown and Tony Blair, who must have put forward in his citation for a knighthood something like "for services to banking". In the Goodwin story is a long queue of people who share the blame for the virtual collapse of RBS. My list would start with:

    1. The Government, who control all things when they go right but are nowhere to be seen when they go wrong. Get out the comments of Brown, Darling and the rest since Goodwin became Public Enemy Number 1 in their eyes and compare them with what they were saying before the collapse. It is great to have a fall guy.

    2. The Treasury, who think they control all things but have been severely hamstrung since New Labour came to power. They seem to have gone into their shell.

    3. Lord Snooty, because he epitomises the get rich culture of New Labour and what became of Sir Fred

    4. All the regulators, including the Bank of England - why didnt King and his chums (some of whom came from the Treasury) talk the way they are now over the past twelve years?

    5. The big shareholders (institutions etc) who feted Sir Fred as long as the bottom line grew and dividends soared.

    6. His fellow Board members, who should share the blame but have got away virtually scot free.

    7. Economists, who live in a twilight zone based on Keynes or some other dead guy, which has nothing to do with real people and how they might behave now or in the future.

    I would welcome additions or subtractions from the list above. If you want to find a person who should be criminalised then look for a Madoff. You wont find one in a Sir Fred Goodwin but probably someone who was either promoted beyond his capabilites or was just plain unlucky.

    In my view it is time for the Government to declare an end to the matter (Brown said yesterday that Sir Fred had done the right thing - if you do the right thing that ought to be enough). It is also time to stop all talk of criminal charges unless the person who is saying it has proof that Goodwin committed a criminal act.

    He has gained a great deal in financial terms, but I wouldnt be in his (or his fmily's) shoes for all the pension pot).

  • Comment number 72.

    71, 'million miles between a criminal act '

    Oh dear, are you serious?

  • Comment number 73.

    Laughing at some of the comments on here. "Come the revolution"?! Nobody was complaining about Goodwin and his ilk when things were going well for the Banks. Yes he made some bad decisions (ABN AMRO?) and yes the global credit crisis happened on his watch. He should not profit from that, but equally, he doesn't deserve to be pursued for gains made in his previously successful career. The media like to present these characters (and now the MPs) as the bad guys and we all fall for it, saying they should be put in the stocks, etc. But seriously, how many people wouldn't have accepted the rewards for these jobs if they were offered? And would the credit crunch have been as bad if it wasn't for the huge loss of confidence in financial systems brought about by the media. It seems power corrupts, whether you're an MP, a chief executive or a newspaper journalist. If there really is going to be a revolt opposed to democracy and capitalism, I dread to think what system it will be replaced with! Communism perhaps?

  • Comment number 74.


    What was the criminal act you obviously believe has been perpetrated here? If you think there was one as your reply obviously indicates you should be prepared to detail it.

  • Comment number 75.

    Moeluk (No. 5) - I'm not sure what the two characters from Emmerdale have to do with it but said with feeling anyway. Thanks Robert, for giving us grounds for accepting this and moving on - I think we need to leave Sir Fred behind us now.

  • Comment number 76.

    I here he may next try his hand at being an independent MP.

  • Comment number 77.

    The criminal act is surely the issue of false information in order to obtain a pecuniary advantage.

    I agree the case would have to revolve around the definition of false information and the matter of intent but the fact that the country is broke as a consequence of this man's activity justifies the hurling of a very substantial book at him.

    Or do we live in a time that the rules only apply to the little people? Blag a bank for a few grand and get ten years, wreck all the banks and leave with a large pension. What sort of a moral message is that?

  • Comment number 78.

    STOP PRESS! Jubilant Scenes Around The World as Fred Goodwin Shreds his Pension For The People.

    What a guy! What a giver!

    There were astonishing scenes all around the United Kingdom and the world as Sir (soon to be Saint) Fred gave a whopping £4.7 million back to the people of the United Kingdom. This act of selfless generosity has lead to unprecedented outbursts of jubilation by crowds of his adoring public.

    From Zero to Hero!

    Comeback Kid Fred has been compared by some members of the public (captured on the attached video) to a less annoying version of Bono. Eds hometown in Edinburgh has also taken the dramatic decision to rename it self Fredham with immediate effect.

    Even President Obama jumped on the Goodwin bandwagon by taking timeout from fly-swatting to thank Fred in front of thousands for his generosity...

    You can see highlights of these amazing scenes on >>>> Fred's The Man!

  • Comment number 79.

    It really is a crazy mixed up world we live in, a man ultimately responsible for the mis-management of an organisation that has a responsibility to it's customers, shareholders and fellow employees manages to come out of this smelling of roses whilst any normal worker would get the boot without a by your leave if they did not perform to their employers satisfaction... the system stinks

  • Comment number 80.


    That is a point but if you applied that you would have to start with the PM and then go to a lot of MPs and their "blagging" on expenses. Some would say the country could be said to be broke because of the PMs activity, and he gained the difference between a Chancellor's salary and a PMs along the way. Plus the £150k he will get for after dinner speaking if he follows the same route as his predecessor. And his enormous pension. I have no truck with Sir Fred, but I wish that all the others could be in the frame too.

  • Comment number 81.

    the comment i posted yesterday,seemed to tread on toes,but i still feel that goodwin is moraly bancupt,and to still be SIR,proves the government are of the same ilk.My son-in-law has this week been made redundant,thrown on the scrapheap by goodwins greed and incompetance.His meager pension has been frozen until he is at least 50.Why did goodwins pension escape this action?,My son-in-law was not a city highflyer,just a very hard working heavy industry taxpayer, who has now to live of state benefits,while goodwin takes a massive pension out of tax money my son-in-law worked hard to grandson ,who is just 13 years of age asked his dad why he has lost his job,through no fault of his,when men like goodwin get rewarded for bringing down the banks and nearly the country.WHAT does he tell him?

  • Comment number 82.

    nick leeson was imprisoned. this person received bonus previous year for his successfull policies. and when his policies failed he was rewarded again. not one penny of taxpayers money should have gone to this corrupt useless bank oh sorry it had scotland in its name .i suppose brown recognised another useless individual like him . i thought his pension was due at 69 if so whoever agreed this should be in jail now

  • Comment number 83.

    £342,500 per annum is about £515 per MP per year. Can not MPs, or the cabint or the RBS board pay for it out of their own pockets?

  • Comment number 84.

    The Daily Mash put this story a little better than Robert this time around I think.

  • Comment number 85.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 86.

    How was at Ascot today Robert?

  • Comment number 87.

    81. At 4:01pm on 19 Jun 2009, hmscaprice wrote:

    "the comment i posted yesterday, seemed to tread on toes, but i still feel that goodwin is moraly bancupt, and to still be SIR, proves the government are of the same ilk. My son-in-law has this week been made redundant, thrown on the scrapheap by goodwins greed and incompetance. His meager pension has been frozen until he is at least 50. Why did goodwins pension escape this action?"

    Well firstly, Goodwin is over 50 (DOB 17/8/1958).

    But more importantly, he has been very astute (or do I meand cunning?) during his time in finance and banking and has ensured - much like our dear MPs - that his own interests have been served.

    In my humble opinion, considering how poorly he served the interests of the RBS shareholders and staff, and indeed the interests of his colleagues in the UK banking industry and their shareholders and customers too, he is fortunate to have got away with this arrangement.

    But, as I said he has been somewhat astute. Perhaps if the RBS Board and Lord Myners had been more astute, Sir F would not have got away with as much as he has.

    We can but speculate.

    Letting him remain a "sir" does not really indicate anything about the Government at all. But let's face it, compared to even Sir F, parliamentarians' creditibility is shot to pieces, so any movement on stripping him of his title might come across as the pot calling the kettle black.

  • Comment number 88.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 89.

    Message 80 majorroadaheadagain

    Why complicate the issue with the others as we can deal with them later.

    Get one of them, send him away for a long time and watch all the others fall quietly into line.

    The issue is to find some way of encourgaing the others not to do it again. At the moment they have a free hand to dunk us in the hot drink all over again.

    We have to nail at least one or we are finsihed as a nation and as a people.

  • Comment number 90.

    I understand that Fred the Shred has been overtaken by Blair the Tear as the most devious of them all. How convenient his expenses were shredded. And he thinks he's going to be President of Europe! Labour took everything good that had been done by the previous government, didn't change anything to begin with, but were then beguiled by their access to the world of money and corrupt power.

  • Comment number 91.

    i dislike fred goodwin for what he has done and what he stands for, but i have to say that a lot of the comments on this thread are quite ridiculous. the pension he 'earned' or at least the one his ex employer was foolish enough to agree to pay him, was decided in the main whilst the bank was an independent business, operating with many others in the banking sector. those people who are trying to blame the current government for this presumably believe that all banks should be state run? i also assume then that the same people making these comments refused to accept demutualisation payments at any point and have also continuously voted for the british communist party.

    even more stupid are the suggestions that this mess will be resolved by an incoming tory party. it is the conservatives who did so much to encourage the culture of greed, and gambling in the markets, and the free market right for capitalists to set their own wages as high as they can whilst squeezing ever increasing fees and profits from the population. it was the conservatives who began the rush to give up all publicly owned utilities and services, through the privatisation programme, which encouraged the idea of fat cat board members in place in every large body. so does any sensible person really think that a new conservative government is ever going to act to restrict the wealthy, or to interfere in their great god the free market?

    as with ministerial expenses (and no doubt swine flu if it gets much worse) the government of the day are not really to blame. they are likely to be voted out within the next 12 months, but please don't think that this will in any way see us move towards a fairer world, or a narrowing of the gap between the richest and poorest sections of society.

  • Comment number 92.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 93.

    Rich or poor Robert, what is your answer?

  • Comment number 94.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 95.

    I see the moderators are having a good day ?

    Anyway, I will re-phrase my comment and stand corrected

    Mr Peston, have your friends in high places asked you to
    help to bring this matter to a close and sweep the matter under the carpet.

  • Comment number 96.

    He was under a contract.
    He never broke the contract. He got paid. (Just a really stupid, immoral amount of money) Still.......... not his fault.

  • Comment number 97.

    In his hay day Sir Fred is reputed to have said that banking was a sausage machine ,so it was nothing more complicated than that afterall surprise surprise!.

    Well now we know where some of the sausage went, it begs the question where did the other billion miles of it go?

    How is it possible for a sausage machine operative to get a pension pot worth 10 million? was Fred privy to a secret supply of skins from the Merchant of Venice ?

  • Comment number 98.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 99.

    Fred Goodwin is a brilliant man. Now dont delete my message.

  • Comment number 100.

    #78 actionaider

    What a post!...


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