THE FORMER finance director of Bradford & Bingley has been fined £30,000 by the City regulator over failings in the run up to the bank’s botched emergency cash call at the start of the financial crisis.
Christopher Willford, the bank’s FD between October 2005 and June 2009, 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 Financial Conduct Authority cover 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.
“Willford failed to identify and investigate potentially material risks, or alert the board, at a crucial time for the firm. His conduct fell short of the FCA’s standards – senior managers should expect the FCA to take action if they fail to show due skill, care and diligence,” said Tracey McDermott, the FCA’s director of financial crime and enforcement.