Thursday business round-up: Five key stories of the day

Andrew Green QC said regulators should have considered investigating former executives at HBOS
Andrew Green QC said regulators should have considered investigating former executives at HBOS
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Here are five of today’s key business stories in one handy package.

Executives in charge at HBOS in the run-up to its collapse were “ultimately responsible” for its failure and could face being struck off from working in financial services following the much-delayed publication of damning reports into the bank’s demise. In a scathing assessment of the Financial Services Authority’s handling of the original inquiries into HBOS, Andrew Green QC said the former regulator should have considered investigating ex-chief executives Andy Hornby and James Crosby, as well as past chairman Lord Stevenson.

Royal Bank of Scotland is scrapping bonuses for customer-facing employees. The state-backed lender said the move, which takes effect from 1 January, will mean workers based in branches and call centres at its personal and business banking operations would be “fully focused on helping customers with their financial needs”. In return for missing out on their annual bonuses, about 20,000 frontline staff at RBS and its NatWest brand will instead receive an average increase in their basic pay of about 5 per cent.

Edinburgh-based oil and gas explorer Bowleven is set to acquire stakes in two Tanzania gas projects for up to $28 million (£18.3m). The Africa-focused group said the proposed deal was in line with its strategy of concentrating on opportunities in Africa that “have the potential to create material shareholder value, whilst maintaining a robust balance sheet and strong capital discipline”.

A group of academic, government and aquaculture industry bodies unveiled projects worth £2.9m to increase the use of “cleaner fish” in the Scottish salmon industry. Led by the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre, the research will focus on lumpsuckers, a species that eats sea lice – a parasite that feeds on both wild and farmed salmon.

Accounting giant KPMG became the latest occupier to take space at the St Vincent Plaza office development in Glasgow. The firm will move from its current offices on the city’s West George Street next year and lease the entire top three floors of the 12-storey building, which recently secured distiller Whyte & Mackay as another tenant.