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PwC: FSA's handling of Northern Rock "a shambles" 15 November 2011

Speaking at the TMA UK Annual Conference, the chairman of UK Business Recovery Services, at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Tony Lomas, criticised the lack of control and knowledge displayed by the bodies during the process.

In September 2007 Northern Rock rocked the UK financial system when it went cap in hand to the BoE and asked for emergency financial support.

It triggered the first run on a British bank for more than a century, sending shockwaves throughout the economy and raising early fears the UK was heading towards a recession.

"shambles"

PwC was the then stricken lender’s accountant and, describing the ensuing chaos, Lomas said: "It was diabolical and frankly it was a shambles. I was amazed, the FSA and BoE guys were learning just like us.

"Some people were asking us the same questions they had asked us previously. You would expect them to have one idea or one common, every single day was stressful.

"We would come away from conversations convinced we knew what direction they wanted to take but they would then change their minds."

Northern Rock was eventually nationalised in February 2008 and PwC was widely criticised for failing to spot the potential problems in the bank’s books.

Life lessons

But Lomas insisted lessons have been learnt and the FSA in particular is now in a far stronger position to deal with a similar banking disaster.

He added: "There’s now a huge amount of information flowing back and forwards from the bank to the regulators.

"They have worked hard and now understand the risk involved, they are going to be a lot more informed and they are going to work better – it’s come a long way but it’s still not perfect."

By Andy Pearce

 

Related links:

- Turnaround Management Association

- Northern Rock

- Financial Services Authority

 

 

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