Osborne ‘behind axed bank culture review’

Osborne ‘behind Axed Bank Culture Review’GETTY

MPs said Chancellor George Osborne was bowing to pressure from banks in the City

The Chancellor is “bowing” to demands to drop the so-called “banker bashing” probe set up after the Libor rate-rigging scandal, it was claimed.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced it will instead “engage individually with firms to encourage their delivery of cultural change”.

The decision comes after FCA chief executive Martin Wheatley announced in July his decision to quit as Mr Osborne refused to renew his contract, which was due to end in March next year.

Martin Wheatley - Osborne ‘behind Axed Bank Culture Review’GETTY

Martin Wheatley announced in July his decision to quit as Mr Osborne refused to renew his contract

The decision allows the banks to continue to act as they acted before

John Mann

MPs suggested the Chancellor was behind the decision to drop the review.

Labour’s John Mann, who sits on the Treasury select committee, said: “This decision leaves us hugely exposed into the future because it allows the banks to continue to act as they acted before.

“Osborne is bowing to pressure from the banks. HSBC and Barclays have threatened to leave the country, that is what they are privately threatening.”

Conservative Mark Garnier, who also sits on the committee, said he was “disappointed” by the decision.

Labour MP John Mann and Conservative Mark Garnier - Osborne ‘behind Axed Bank Culture Review’GETTY

Labour MP John Mann and Conservative Mark Garnier were disappointed with the decision

A number of banks have already signalled that changes are being made.

In November, Standard Chartered said it would cut about 15,000 jobs worldwide as part of a major overhaul.

But the bank said it had no plans to move its headquarters from the UK.

In contrast, HSBC said it was investigating whether to close its UK HQ in the City, where it has been based for more than two decades.

HSBC headquarters - Osborne ‘behind Axed Bank Culture Review’GETTY

HSBC said it was investigating whether to close its UK HQ in the City

In a statement, the FCA said: “A focus on the culture in financial services firms remains a priority for the FCA. There is currently extensive ongoing work in this area within firms and externally.

“We have decided the best way to support these efforts is to engage individually with firms to encourage their delivery of cultural change, as well as supporting other initiatives outside the FCA.”

The move to shelve the review was described as “disappointing” by Richard Lloyd, executive director of consumer experts Which? He added: “The FCA must not take their eye off the ball.”

Osborne ‘behind Axed Bank Culture Review’
Osborne ‘behind Axed Bank Culture Review’
Osborne ‘behind Axed Bank Culture Review’
Osborne ‘behind Axed Bank Culture Review’

Osborne ‘behind Axed Bank Culture Review’