FRC investigating conduct of former Bradford & Bingley FD

THE FORMER finance director of Bradford & Bingley is facing a probe by Britain’s accountancy regulator over his conduct in the run up to the bank’s botched emergency cash call at the start of the financial crisis.

The FRC said it has launched the investigation into the conduct of Chris Willford, the bank’s FD between October 2005 and June 2009, after City watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority, fined Willford £30,000 in December last year.

Willford failed to update the bank’s board about its deteriorating financial position, including profits, mortgage arrears and re-possessions, ahead of a failed attempt to raise £400m in a 2008 rights issue. The bank was subsequently nationalised.

The findings of the FCA investigation covered a three day period in May 2008, in which Willford received information that suggested that B&B’s financial outlook might be weaker than expected.

The information Willford received was out of kilter with previous forecasts, and showed that bad mortgage debts, arrears and repossessions had all risen, while the difference between the interest rates B&B paid to, and received from, its customers had fallen, which suggested B&B could have fallen short of forecast profit for the year.

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