Northern Rock regulator receives £612,000 pay-off

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Clive Briault, the Financial Services Authority director of ret-ail supervision who lost his job after the collapse of Northern Rock, was handed a severance package worth more than £612,000, the regulator revealed yesterday.

The revelation sparked fury among Rock shareholders, who have yet to receive a penny of compensation for their investments in the mortgage bank, which was nationalised this year.

The FSA's annual reports and accounts show that Mr Briault, who headed the division with ultimate responsibility for super-vision of the Newcastle-based lender and who left the regulator "by mutual consent" in April, was paid £356,452 in lieu of salary and bonus, £36,000 in respect of pension contributions, £17,500 for external professional fees and a one-off compensation payment of £202,500.

The total deal was worth £612,452, although this figure excludes an additional £30,000 performance-related bonus Mr Briault received for work done before his departure.

A spokeswoman for the FSA said it was contractually obliged to pay around two-thirds of the settlement under Mr Briault's 12-month contract. But the compensation payment was a negotiated deal. "It is our policy to pay compensation for loss of office," a spokeswoman said.

Mr Briault quit the FSA just before the regulator published a damning report into the way it policed Northern Rock in the period before its dramatic collapse last August.

Roger Lawson, who heads the Northern Rock Shareholders Action Group, said :"This is an enormous pay-off for someone who is basically a civil servant. The FSA fell down on the job of policing Northern Rock and it was defective in many areas."

The FSA claimed yesterday that it had learned the lessons of the Northern Rock affair.