Cameron did not protect Scottish jobs

The Prime Minister’s claim to have “protected” 150,000 jobs in Scotland’s financial services sector is preposterous (your report, 13 December).

According to the Financial Services Advisory Board, in 2008 some 95,500 people were employed in the sector in Scotland. Of these, around 85 per cent worked in routine banking, insurance and “life and pensions” jobs – the traditional financial services that keep business running and pensions paid.

Nobody is suggesting that employment in any of these areas could be threatened by new European legislation. That leaves only about 14,000 people in the “asset management” area.

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Casino banking is not big in Scotland; Scottish funds have an excellent record not only of profitable business but of responsible investment, much of it in European securities.

Only a tiny proportion of their activities might be affected by proposed European regulation – which, of course, the UK will now have no part in formulating.

The same general arithmetic applies to Mr Cameron’s assertion that his veto protected the “11 per cent of UK GDP” produced by the financial sector in the UK as a whole. In fact, that sector produces around 7.5 per cent of GDP.

The City accounts for only about a third of this and the part most “threatened” – by legislation designed to prevent 2008 from happening all over again, remember – consists of only a few dozen, mainly foreign-owned investment banks and hedge funds.

Was the veto designed to safeguard British economic interests or to appease Tory Eurosceptics? Even a cursory glance at the figures provides the answer.

John Brand

European Movement in Scotland

Cumberland Street


Bill Jamieson states: “If the RBS board has got off lightly, then so too, surely, has the FSA.” (Analysis, 13 December.)

The Financial Services Authority report on the demise of RBS has highlighted the astonishing shortcomings of the bank’s senior management. However, what is also very clear is that the senior management of the FSA were negligent in the extreme in executing their duties.

The report states that many aspects of the FSA’s work were “inadequate” or “deficient”. The report will say that, in many respects, its own staff lacked the skills to monitor banks as large and complex as RBS: “The FSA failed to foster the skills necessary to monitor the capital adequacy of the banks.”

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The FSA has admitted its focus on conduct issues like the RDR (retail distribution review) and treating customers fairly in the run-up to the crisis meant the prudential supervision of banks was sometimes regarded as a low priority.

This is a shocking admission. Because the emphasis is on RBS, the shortcomings of senior FSA management is not being highlighted enough.

The FSA is a self-regulating organisation, salary levels of senior management are obscene and they have in the past awarded themselves substantial bonuses for failure.

Lord Turner, FSA chairman, remains in post.

Hector Sants is the chief executive of the FSA on whose watch all this happened. He is still in post, and has a new job, chief executive of the new regulatory body, the Prudential Regulatory Authority. Absolutely astonishing.

So the board of the FSA, like the board of RBS, has got off lightly – very lightly – so far.

Douglas Cowe