While the action of the parliamentary commission on banking standards, in naming “the architects of a strategy” which led to HBOS having to be bailed out by the taxpayer, is laudable, its work, surely, has just started (Former HBOS chief asks to have his knighthood revoked, 10 April). Do not the bankers responsible for the morally “toxic” decisions that led to Libor-rate fixing also need to be, not only named and shamed, but banned from any further involvement in financial activities in the City?
The same applies to those responsible for the laundering of Mexican drug money; it cannot be sufficient to castigate only the bankers who cost the nation money, as the net must be cast much wider if there are to be any changes to the banking culture as we know it. The banking industry’s attempts at self-regulation, epitomised by Barclays’ “transform” programme, was revealed to be a sham almost immediately by the ridiculous bonus paid to Rich Ricci. If ever there was a time for Labour to open a debate on the creation of a people’s bank it must be now, especially as RBS seems ripe for nationalisation and the ring-fencing of “socially useless” banking is not due until 2019. As for knighthoods and other honours, all should be removed from anyone in the City guilty of condoning unethical financial transactions, and that includes advising on, and participating in, tax avoidance.
• How refreshing that the role played by former head of accountants at KPMG, the auditor for HBOS, is coming under scrutiny. Accountants are rarely called to account in the many cases where a half-awake person of integrity would have known about and refused to sign off the published company accounts. The accountants at News International, for example, were apparently unaware of countless illegal payments made to police and others in the long-running phone-hacking scandal.
Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk