Ex-Barings boss will not challenge three-year ban

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The Independent Online
Ian Hopkins, the former head of treasury and risk at Barings, has decided not to appeal against an independent City tribunal's decision to ban him from working as a director of a securities company in London, even though he rejects its findings.

He had until last Friday to appeal against the tribunal's ruling over the case brought against Mr Hopkins by the Securities and Futures Authority (SFA), the City regulator, in January. He was also required to pay pounds 10,000 in costs.

Mr Hopkins, who has refused to participate in the regulatory procedures of the SFA, insisted that he rejected the findings of the disciplinary panel. He said he found the decision to brand him as "unfit" to act as a director of a securities company as "odious". He added: "I disregard it, I reject it."

He was among a number of former Barings executives against whom the SFA brought disciplinary charges after the downfall of the bank in 1995. It collapsed after the Singapore-based trader, Nick Leeson, ran up losses of more than pounds 800m through unauthorised trading.

Mr Hopkins subsequently claimed he was a whistle-blower, telling the Commons Treasury Select Committee investigation into Barings last year that his attempts to warn more senior Barings executives about potential problems had gone unheeded.

The SFA has not yet published the findings of the tribunal but Mr Hopkins confirmed for the first time that he had been banned from the register of directors for three years and ordered to pay costs of pounds 10,000, in addition to being found to be "unfit" to act as director of a securities company.

Mr Hopkins claimed that he had been urged by a senior executive of the SFA to negotiate a settlement of the charges in the same way that Mary Walz, his former colleague, had. She was not banned by the regulator but received a reprimand and was required to pay the sum of pounds 5,000 towards costs after agreeing to settle with the SFA instead of taking her case to a tribunal.

He said he too may have been able to escape being branded as "unfit" to act as director if he had agreed to settle. But to do so would have required Mr Hopkins to admit he failed to act with "due skill, care and diligence". He explained: "To me, it would be selling my soul. Had I done that, I would have avoided an unfit declaration and got away with a reprimand."

The SFA, which cannot publish the outcome of tribunals until the appeals process has been completed, confirmed it had offered Mr Hopkins the chance to follow the settlement process available to all City executives.

But the SFA, which should be free to reveal the outcome of the tribunal this week, said there were no terms and conditions attached to offer.

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