Barings men fined and barred

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The Independent Online
Three middle-ranking executives of Barings were yesterday fined and suspended by the Securities and Futures Authority for management failures in the run-up to the collapse of the bank 18 months ago.

The most senior is George Maclean, former head of the banking group of Baring Investment Bank, who was reprimanded, had his registration as a director with the SFA suspended for two years and was ordered to pay pounds 10,000 towards the SFA's costs for failing "to act with due skill, care and diligence". The others were Anthony Hawes and Anthony Gamby.

Mr Maclean, who lives in Essex, did not file a defence or make any proposals for settling the charges against him. He is believed to have decided already to quit the City.

Mr Maclean was a member of Barings asset and liability committee, which monitored risk, and of the management committee which made key decisions in the investment bank.

He was involved in compiling a dismissive response to probing questions from Simex, the Singapore futures exchange, a month before the collapse.

Barings replied to Simex on 10 February, 16 days before the collapse, that its Singapore futures business had sufficient funding, was effectively monitored and had a low-risk trading strategy. The SFA said: "The assurances given were, in the circumstances, without any reasonable foundation. Mr Maclean failed to take any proper steps to satisfy himself that those assurances were properly given."

Mr Hawes, former group treasurer of Baring Securities and a member of the asset and liability committee, was removed from the SFA's registers of directors and managers and ordered to pay pounds 10,000 costs.

He will be unable to apply for re-registration for three years. Without registration he cannot work in the securities industry.

The SFA said Mr Hawes failed to understand, control and reconcile top- ups to margin payments in Singapore. These were supposedly advances of funds to clients but were in fact being used by Nick Leeson, the trader who bust the bank, to support his unauthorised dealings.

Mr Gamby, director of settlements for Baring Investment Bank, was reprimanded and his registration with the SFA as a director suspended until next March. He will pay pounds 5,000 costs.

The SFA found he failed to ensure the settlements department understood, controlled and reconciled the provisions of funds to the Singapore futures operation. There was no evidence that he was aware of any unreconciled balances but he accepted it was his responsibility to ensure proper procedures existed and were followed.

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