• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Ex-Barclays chief calls on Government to break up RBS

THE Government should consider the break-up of part-nationalised Royal Bank of Scotland rather than re-privatising it, former Barclays chief executive Martin Taylor has said.

He also called for higher pay for banks' non-executive directors and said the Government should prevent retail banks from dealing in derivatives.

Mr Taylor, who helped set the tone for banking reform at the Independent Commission on Banking (ICB), stopped short of advocating the division of Edinburgh-based RBS.

"There are a number of policy choices the Government can make, with RBS in particular," he said, depending on its aims.

"I would like to have a feeling that the Government recognises there are policy options and is thinking along those lines rather than saying 'our job is to get the business back into the public sector at some stage'."

He said the Parliamentary Commission on Banking that the Government should have completely nationalised the bank, which is 82% state-owned, and "used it as a vehicle for what they wanted to do".

Full nationalisation is still possible, he noted.

It was reported last year that business secretary Vince Cable wanted RBS split up and use it as a business bank. It was also reported that the Cabinet had discussed nationalising RBS.

Last week former Bank of England policy maker Adam Posen called for RBS to be divided to improve competition and make it easier to sell.

Mr Taylor, Barclays' chief executive from 1994 to 1998, also called for a shake-up of boards.

"It would be a good idea to have smaller bank boards with fewer directors and pay them better to get more work from them," he said.

RBS directors were paid a basic fee of £72,500 according to its annual report for 2011 and those at Lloyds Banking Group £65,000. RBS chairman Sir Philip Hampton received £750,000.

A key recommendation of the ICB's report in 2011 was the ring-fencing of retail banks from riskier investment banks.

The Parliamentary commission has since called for "electrification" of the fence with regulators given powers to split banks up if they try to circumvent the rules.

Mr Taylor told the commission that ring-fenced banks should be prevented from dealing in derivatives.

Contextual targeting label: 
Finance

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

137853