Norris barred for three years over Barings

Peter Norris, the former chief executive of Barings, was yesterday barred from holding any management position in the investment banking industry for at least three years. The Securities and Futures Authority, the City watchdog, found Mr Norris' part in the collapse of Britain's oldest merchant bank amounted to a serious failure of his managerial duties. He was also fined pounds 10,000.

However, following negotiations over the terms of the disciplinary settlement, the SFA stepped back from declaring Mr Norris, who is 41, to be not "fit and proper" to work in the securities business. After the ban, he will be able to reapply for registration with the SFA.

Yesterday's was the first successful disciplining of one of the former senior Barings' executives who were in charge when the bank crashed under nearly pounds 900m of unauthorised derivatives losses. Most of the other eight former executives who have been investigated are expected, however, to contest the watchdog's disciplinary findings.

Ron Baker, who was the direct boss of Nick Leeson, the imprisoned rogue trader who carried out the disastrous speculation, yesterday presented the SFA with a detailed rebuttal of its charges. Declaring himself determined to clear his name of the unjust criticisms, Mr Baker has opted to take the matter to the SFA tribunal. It is understood that the punishment proposed by the SFA for Mr Baker is similar to that agreed with Mr Norris.

Mr Baker's deputy in charge of the Barings derivatives business at the time of the crash, Mary Walz, is also believed to be contesting the SFA's findings before a tribunal. Five other former executives are facing penalties ranging from one- to three-year bans and fines of between pounds 5,000 and pounds 10,000.

Ian Hopkins, the former head of group treasury and risk, has taken the unusual course of refusing to comply with the SFA's disciplinary process. Mr Hopkins has told the SFA he does not intend to submit a defence to a tribunal on the grounds that it will be unable to reach a fair verdict.

Instead, Mr Hopkins has made a detailed submission to the Commons Treasury Select Committee, which will be holding hearings into the Barings collapse next Wednesday. However, Mr Hopkins is not among the four former Barings executives - Peter Baring, the chairman, Andrew Tuckey, the deputy chairman, Mr Norris, and Geoffrey Barnett, chief operating officer - who have been invited by the committee to appear before it.

The SFA said Mr Norris admitted he "failed to act with due skill, care and diligence" regarding the massive positions run up by Barings in its dealings between the Singapore and Japanese exchanges. He also failed to deal "with sufficient promptness and firmness" with a key clue that could have unmasked Leeson's dealings, a pounds 50m discrepancy uncovered by Barings' auditors in January 1995.

In determining the discipline for Mr Norris, the SFA said it had taken into account the fact that he had not previously been the subject of disciplinary action and had co-operated with the watchdog in its investigations.

In the detailed defence document handed yesterday to the SFA, Mr Baker's lawyers, Fox William, argued that he was being unjustly sanctioned for management failures outside of his responsibility. It pointed out that Mr Baker was in charge of Barings' house derivatives business and not the agency trading Mr Leeson was involved in. It also argues that he only took formal responsibility for Leeson in January 1995, while the fraud trading had been going on since 1992.

Regarding the costs of his defence, Mr Baker said: "In my own mind I have written off pounds 100,000 as a worst-case scenario, but it could even end up as more."

In March, the SFA formally cleared the two most senior former Barings executives, Peter Baring and Andrew Tuckey, of responsibility for the collapse of the 233-year-old bank.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

Laura Norton: Project Accountant

£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine