Bankers back in PM's tent


Goodness me, the prime minister has made the bold judgement that bankers have been sufficiently rehabilitated to appoint a couple of them as his business ambassadors.

As I understand it, the chairman of HSBC, Douglas Flint, and the chief executive of Santander UK, Ana Botin, will on Friday be announced as joining the ranks of business grandees chosen by David Cameron to sell the UK to the world.

Which is quite something. Since it is a while since the government wanted to be too closely associated with top bankers.

There is a nuance here of course. Which is that HSBC and Santander UK are those rarities, banks that got through the banking crisis without needing to be propped up by taxpayers.

As it happens, I've just interviewed the prime minister, who is in Davos lauding the attractions of the UK to overseas companies and investors.

You can see that interview later on the BBC, on the Six O'Clock News, and at Ten.

He was in ebullient mood, having just come from a meeting with Chinese financial institutions who were - he said - remarkably bullish about the UK's prospects.

And another thing. As you know, the UK is suffering from trade and current account deficits that are large and intractable.

Narrowing that gap hasn't been helped by the wounds - many of them self-inflicted - of our big international banks.

The prime minister is sending a message that he would rather like those wounds to heal.

Robert Peston Article written by Robert Peston Robert Peston Economics editor

How Labour pays for student fee cut

Labour would reduce tax relief for those earning £150,000 or more a year, shrink maximum pension pots to £1m and cut maximum annual pension contributions to £30,000 to pay for a cut to £6,000 in student fees.

Read full article

More on This Story

More from Robert


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 212.

    What a mistake, in my opinion, appointing Mr Wigley (ex chairman of hibu plc) as an ambassador to Mr Cameron. I wonder what more will be revealed in the coming weeks with respect to the debacle of hibu's (ex Yellow Pages) restructuring and the people and companies involved?

  • rate this

    Comment number 211.

    Somewhat ironic that Mr Wigley, of the Advisory Board of Cranfield School's Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, a Chairman of Oxford University’s Centre for Corporate Reputation, and a business ambassador to Mr Cameron, is at the same time referenced in Mr. Spanier's articles below. If true, what hope is there for corporate Britain. Surely this debacle should be a priority.

  • rate this

    Comment number 210.

    How to rid yourself of shareholders. Voluntary default (re hibu), hand the company over to lenders and get huge bonuses for doing it. What are the regulators doing? Sitting on their hands. Private investors beware!

  • rate this

    Comment number 209.

    Rip off Britain is alive and well I see.....CEO's awarding themselves huge bonus's without shareholder scrub that in "Hibu's" case WITHOUT shareholders.......Wigley's own bank in his own words "We are our own bank"......just not sure who the "Our" represents....oh yes his colleagues....silly me.

  • rate this

    Comment number 208.

    Well, every banker has a special niche of competence. Wigley seems to have specialised in making investors in his companies extremely poor.
    I wonder, is this lack of business acumen (ie just a useless professional) or somebody with a deliberate objective of ruthlessly making money at the expenses of people who put their money and trust in his enterprises?

    Well, we will see.


Comments 5 of 212


Features & Analysis

  • A very clever little girlBrain gain

    Why are people getting better at intelligence tests?

  • Don Roberto Placa Quiet Don

    The world's worst interview - with one of the loneliest men on Earth

  • Welsh society plaqueDistant valley

    How St David's Day is marked in one community far from Wales

  • Pakistani police officers escort Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi, center, the main sispect in the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008, after his court appearance in Islamabad, Pakistan, Tuesday, Dec 30, 2014Freedom behind bars

    The luxury lifestyle of Pakistan's most notorious prisoner

From BBC Capital


  • BatteriesClick Watch

    More power to your phone - the lithium-ion batteries that could last twice as long

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.