The Business On... Carol Sergeant, chair of financial products steering group

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The Independent Online

Who is she and what is she heading?

Ms Sergeant is a financial services all-rounder. She worked at the Bank of England and then at the Financial Services Authority before jumping ship for Lloyds TSB in 2003 as head of risk. She quit Lloyds last November and has now resurfaced to chair a Treasury steering group to come up with simple financial products that consumers can understand.



What qualifies her for the job?

The official line is that she has a wealth of experience spanning regulation and retail banking at Lloyds. She also has the personality to rally a group including senior people from the FSA and the Treasury as well as from Which?, the Association of British Insurers and other trade bodies.



Hang on a minute, didn't Lloyds...

I know where you're going with this. Yes, Ms Sergeant was head of risk at Lloyds when it was Britain's biggest mis-seller of payment protection insurance. Antonio Horta-Osorio's first big move as Lloyds' chief executive was to write off £3.2bn for the cost of sorting out the mess. So PPI proved quite risky.



Was PPI a simple product?

Not really. It was sold to millions of customers to protect loan payments against unemployment, illness and other bad news. The less simple bit was that it often didn't pay out and it was sold to people, such as the self-employed, who had no hope of ever claiming.



This sounds ridiculous

Maybe so but then again you could argue that Ms Sergeant's experience makes her perfectly qualified for the job. What better person to spot when a product is confusing?

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