HSBC appoints former LSE
chief Clara Furse to chair UK retail bank
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[November 01, 2016]
By Andrew MacAskill and Huw Jones
(Reuters) - HSBC, Europe's biggest bank, has appointed Clara Furse, a
former chief executive of the London Stock Exchange, to chair its
ring-fenced UK retail business.
Furse stepped down from her role as a member of the Bank of England's
Financial Policy Committee on Tuesday in order to take the job at HSBC,
where she will oversee its British retail banking and wealth management,
commercial banking and global private banking operations.
"We are thrilled to have secured Clara as chairman of the HSBC UK
board," Group Chairman Douglas Flint said in a statement. "She brings
unrivalled knowledge of the UK's financial markets, systems and
Furse faces a three-month cooling-off period after leaving the BoE
before she can start at HSBC. Her role on the FPC involved setting the
regulatory framework for British banks.
Britain's ring-fencing rules aim to avoid a repeat of the 2008 financial
crisis, when banks' bad bets in wholesale financial markets put ordinary
depositors' cash at risk, and led to big taxpayer-funded bailouts.
The rules apply to all banks in Britain that have both retail and
commercial or investment banking activities.HSBC's ring-fenced bank will
be headquartered in Birmingham from 2018, a year before the separation
of the business has to take place.
Furse struggled initially to convince UK lawmakers that she was suitable
as a member of the FPC, a new watchdog launched in 2013 which at the
time needed to muster credibility quickly.
After an awkward session before parliament's Treasury Select Committee,
lawmakers said they had "serious concerns" about Furse's appointment to
the new watchdog.
This they said related to her lack of awareness about the importance of
asserting the FPC's independence, and her role as a non-executive
director at Fortis, the Belgian bank that had to be bailed out in the
On her reappointment to the FPC, lawmakers said in March this year that
some of her responses to their questions "were a source of concern", and
that she made no reference to potential risks from Brexit in her written
[to top of second column]
Chief Executive Officer London Stock Exchange Clara Furse addresses
Thomson Reuters executives after opening the market at the London
Stock Exchange in central London April 17, 2008. REUTERS/Dylan
In a statement released by the BoE, Furse said she would miss the FPC's
"intense and important deliberations", but wanted to play "a more active
and direct role in supporting the UK’s economic ambitions at a time of
Furse also made it clear in March that she believed there should be no
rush to force banks to hold more capital because she worried that an
increase in the requirement could choke off more lending.
The FPC went ahead with implementing a gradual rise in capital
requirements, a policy which was then scrapped in the light of the June
referendum vote to leave the European Union.
When Furse, a former derivatives trader, headed the London Stock
Exchange she lost out in 2001 to Paris-based Euronext in a fierce battle
to acquire London's LIFFE derivatives exchange, despite making a higher
Failing to acquire LIFFE left the LSE vulnerable and led to Furse
fighting off a series of takeover bids before stepping down in 2009. She
was succeeded by Xavier Rolet, who negotiated this year's deal to merge
the LSE with Deutsche Boerse.
(Additional reporting by David Milliken; Editing by Greg Mahlich)
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