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Economy

Publication of the PRA and FCA review into the failure of HBOS

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The review was originally started by the former regulator, the Financial Services Authority (FSA). Its purpose was to analyse the causes of the firm’s failure, and to draw out lessons for the future, for both the industry and the regulatory system as a whole.

On 1 October 2008 HBOS was approaching a point at which it was no longer able to meet its liabilities as they fell due and so sought Emergency Liquidity Assistance from the Bank of England. This report seeks to explain why HBOS failed, the role that HBOS Board and senior management played in the failure and the FSA’s supervision of HBOS.

The review concludes that ultimate responsibility for the failure of HBOS rests with the Board and senior management. They failed to set an appropriate strategy for the firm’s business and failed to challenge a flawed business model which placed inappropriate reliance on continuous growth without due regard to risks involved. In addition, flaws in the FSA’s supervisory approach meant it did not appreciate the full extent of the risks HBOS was running and was not in a position to intervene before it was too late.

Andrew Bailey, Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, CEO of the PRA and Accountable Executive for the HBOS Review said: “The story of the failure of HBOS is important both to provide a record of an event which required a major contribution by the public purse, and because it is a story of the failure of a bank that did not undertake complicated activity or so-called racy investment banking. HBOS was at root a simple bank that nonetheless managed to create a big problem.”

Sir Brian Pomeroy, Senior Independent Director at the Financial Conduct Authority and Chairman of the HBOS Review Steering Committee said: “The review into HBOS has involved a dedicated team sourcing and considering a huge amount of material including reviewing around a quarter of a million documents and interviews with 80 key individuals. I am hugely thankful for the painstaking work the team have done to compile a comprehensive report. While much has already been written about the failure of HBOS, I believe this to be the definitive account and to be a thorough, fair and balanced view of what occurred.”

The Director of the Institute of Business Ethics, Philippa Foster Back CBE said: “The HBOS Report shows that there is significant weakness in company whistleblowing arrangements which leave them vulnerable. Boards need to listen to, act upon, and report back on relevant concerns raised by their employees.”

The 2015 IBE Ethics at Work survey shows that half of all UK employees still do not raise concerns about behaviour in their organisation (45%). Of those who do speak up, only 39% said that they were satisfied with the outcome (down from 70% in 2012).

As part of the review, Andrew Green QC was asked to provide an independent assessment of whether the decisions taken on enforcement by the former regulator, the FSA, were reasonable. The PRA and FCA are therefore also today publishing Andrew Green QC’s report into the FSA’s enforcement actions following the failure of HBOS.

In his report, Andrew Green QC recommends that the PRA and FCA should now consider whether any former senior managers of HBOS should be the subject of an enforcement investigation with a view to prohibition proceedings.

The PRA and FCA will conclude a review as to whether further enforcement action should be taken as early as possible next year.

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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