High noon turns to high camp at Hambro shoot-out

After 25 years in the chair, Lord Hambro would have chosen different circumstances in which to bow out from his eponymous banking group, but he wasted no time addressing the only issue exercising a packed annual meeting. High Noon at Tower Hill, it had been billed, and Charlie came out guns ablazing.

He would take no questions on the Co-op affair or the Norton Rose report into Hambros' role, he said. "I believe, however, that we acted quickly and decisively in commissioning an independent investigation and acting on it. We have received resignations from all the directors we believe it is appropriate should leave the bank."

Sir Chips Keswick, his successor, for whom by implication it would not have been appropriate to resign, agreed that a line had been drawn under the affair as far as the bank was concerned. But the first non-family member to head the company since Carl Joachim Hambro set up shop on King William Street in 1839 admitted the Bank of England and Securities and Futures Authority, Hambros' regulators, might beg to differ.

Despite the resignations of Nigel Pantling, head of corporate finance, Peter Large and Andrew Salmon, Hambros is continuing to discuss the failed pounds 1.8bn bid with the Bank and SFA. Sir Chips said the regulators would probably not make a judgement for a couple of months. In the meantime, the hunt for a group chief executive was off - "we had too many layers before and now we have one less", Sir Chips confessed.

The unfortunate Andrew Regan business out the way, Lord Hambro then turned his attention to steering his swan-song back from the brink of farce. It had been taken there by an octogenarian rabble-rouser calling himself Mendax who is fast becoming a regular fixture at annual meetings.

Was the number of pensions trustees defective, excessive or perfect, he demanded to know of the puzzled chairman, only partly in Latin. And would the newly reappointed finance director care to "stand up and click his heels". Smiling serenely, Hambros senior bean-counter did as requested.

Undeterred, Mendax turned on former Bank of England Governor, the Right Honourable Lord Kingsdown, a Hambros non-exec, to follow suit. "I did,l" cried Sir Robin. "He already did," cheered the shareholders. High Noon? High Camp, some muttered.

It was time to recall happier times. Lord Hambro arrived at the family bank 40 years ago, a fellow new boy told the meeting, to embark on the 1950s merchant banking equivalent of boot camp. "We were taught how to add," former company secretary Andrew Gibson-Watt told shareholders - "something our expensive education had failed to prepare us for." Hambros echoed to the unfamiliar sound of laughter.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 busi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

Reach Volunteering: Trustees with Finance, Fundraising and IT skills

Voluntary and unpaid, reasonable expenses reimbursable: Reach Volunteering: St...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent