SFA slated over Barings

VICTIMS of Barings this weekend slated the City regulator, the Securities and Futures Authority, over its exoneration of the former chairman, Peter Baring, and his deputy, Andrew Tuckey, of any responsibility for the bank's pounds 860m collapse.

"I think it beggars belief, frankly. I've looked at the SFA statement the right way up and I've looked at it upside down to try to make sense of it," said Jonathan Stone, head of the Baring Noteholders Action Group, which lost pounds 109m in the crash. "This ought to put the final nail in the coffin of self-regulation. This cosy old boys' network in the City should be brought to an end."

Mr Stone's group now intends to issue writs in April against Mr Baring, Mr Tuckey and other former executives.

In doublespeak worthy of the Scott report, the SFA on Friday said Barings' former top two "were associated with the failure to detect and prevent the losses", but it had found "no evidence that responsibility for the insolvency of the group can be attributed to their actions".

It is, however, still planning disciplinary action against nine other executives, which is likely to bar them from the City.

Ex-Barings trader Nick Leeson is now serving a six-and-a-half-year prison sentence in Singapore for reckless trading that ran up the losses.

Both the Bank of England and Singapore found that the bank had transferred pounds 760m - more than its entire capital base - to Singapore to fund Leeson's losses before the collapse.

Neither Mr Baring nor Mr Tuckey sat on Barings' key risk and credit committees, but they were chair and deputy chair of the executive committee responsible for the bank's operations, as well of the main board itself.