Dame Clara Furse: Being Bailed Out Is No Bar To Serving on FPC

Smile Aleksandra P

That's quite a comeback by Dame Clara Furse.

She was a non-executive director of Fortis when the Belgian bank, in partnership with Royal Bank of Scotland, did the disastrous top-of-the-market purchase of ABN Amro in 2008; now she has been hired to serve as an external member of the financial policy committee of the Bank of England, the body tasked with ensuring financial stability in the UK.

Of course, Furse is best known for her eight years as chief executive of London Stock Exchange. All the same, you might have assumed that Fortis's need for a bailout in 2008 would disqualify any of its directors of the 2006-09 vintage from a job on the FPC. The world has moved on, it seems.

It is easier to understand the appointment to the FPC of Martin Taylor, chief executive of Barclays in the 1990s and a member of the Vickers commission: he's a top-drawer signing, an independent thinker who speaks his mind, clearly.

Richard Sharp, the other new hire, arrives after a 23-year stint at Goldman Sachs. Some may say the Goldman perspective is already well represented at the Bank in the form of the incoming governor, Mark Carney, who did 10 years at the investment bank. But let's see how Sharp speaks.

He will do well to match Robert Jenkins, a member of the interim FPC, in the free-thinking stakes. Jenkins made several blistering speeches that demolished big banks' objections to holding more capital. Better, he was able to make the dry subject of "macro-prudential" regulation intelligible to ordinary mortals. In fact, it is a mystery why the government failed to select Jenkins for service on the FPC in its full form.

The Treasury announcement did not explain. Then again, in its summary of Furse's CV, it neglected to mention her stint at Fortis.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Nils Pratley, for The Guardian on Tuesday 26th March 2013 22.45 Europe/London

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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