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Business Comment

Anthony Hilton: Why should one man carry the can at HBOS?

Peter Cummings, a senior executive at HBOS when it was making hay before the banking collapse, was fined and banned by the Financial Services Authority for his role leading up to the collapse.

He played his part – which he accepts – but he makes a serious point when he says it is unfair that he should have been singled out.

His contention is that none of the other senior figures has been accused. They were his superiors and if he is to blame then so are they.

Some are very senior. One former chief executive, Sir James Crosby, doubled up for a while as deputy chairman of the Financial Services Authority (FSA). Another, then HBOS chairman, Lord Stevenson, also chaired the committee which recommends who should be appointed as working peers.

There have been rumours that the FSA was looking at the roles of both of them but nothing has emerged, and there is only a limited time left in which cases can be brought before they become time-barred. It may well be neither has a case to answer, but in the absence of a clarifying statement from the FSA to this effect it seems unjust that Mr Cummings has been left to carry the can alone.