Karl Snowden

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Karl Snowden was appointed as Head of Public Policy at HBoS in 2004. He was brought in to lead the Bank's Public Policy Unit, which aimed to monitor and influence the political and regulatory environments of the UK and international markets in which HBoS operates[1]. He 'is responsible for the group's engagement with the public policy process and its influencers in the UK, EU and globally.'[1]

The Unit was created against a backdrop of what HBoS viewed as increasing regulatory pressures both within the UK and from Europe. Snowden reports to Colin Matthew, CEO of Group Strategy and International Division.

A law graduate of Edinburgh University, Snowden comes from being UK Director of Government and Industry Affairs with Zurich Financial Services, where he was responsible for all public policy issues in the UK, Ireland, EU and South Africa. Previous posts have been with Price Waterhouse, Rank Xerox and Allied Dunbar.

After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, he spent a number of years with Price Waterhouse working in Portugal and France before joining Xerox Corporation as a Management Consultant. With Xerox he managed consultancy teams around the globe principally in Australia, Africa and the Far East. From Xerox he joined Hambro Life (later Allied Dunbar) as Chief Computer Auditor and held a number of senior posts in what became Zurich Financial Services before being asked to set up its Government and Industry Affairs (GAIA) department in 1996. As Director of GAIA he was responsible for all UK and EU lobbying on behalf of the ZFS group before moving to HBOS in 2004 to set up the HBOS Public Policy Unit. Karl served on the General Council of ICAS from 1998 – 2004, was Chair of the Life Insurance Association 2002 – 2004 and is a current Board Director of the Personal Finance Society. He is married (to another Fifer) with two grown up boys. Karl is a trivia master, quiz anorak and a lover of blues and soul music.[2]

Commenting on his appointment, Snowden's new boss Colin Matthew said:

"In an increasingly complex financial world, we are keen to take a proactive role in shaping the legislation and regulation which influences the Group's strategic objectives. It is important that we make balanced and well-informed contributions to the development of regulatory policy not just in the UK and EU, but in all the jurisdictions in which we operate. I am delighted that someone with Karls breadth of experience will be developing the Groups strategy for achieving this"

Karl Snowden, commenting on his new role said:

"I'm looking forward to joining a major institution which recognises the importance of influencing the legislative and regulatory worlds which increasingly drive key strategic decisions"

Free Banking

More recently, Snowden has been stepping up the pressure on the principle of free banking. As the banking sector has faced ever greater public scrutiny over its charging structures, it has started to question the principle of free banking.

At the British Bankers' Accociation's 3rd Annual Retail Banking Conference on the Future of Retail Banking Regulation in November 2006, Snowden was involved in a debate with: Paul Pester of Lloyds TSB; Jessica Brown of the New Economics Foundation; and Philip Middleton of Ernst & Young on how banks will maintain growth and competitive advantage in the face of increasing competition and regulatory proliferation[2].

Industry Influence

Snowden was also director of the first board of the Personal Finance Society, a professional organisation for financial advisers which emerged from the merger of Life Insurance Association and Society of Financial Advisers in January 2005[3].

Consumer Affairs

Snowden is also a director of the consumer affairs organisation the Consumer Policy Institute, which has been promoted by the National Consumer Federation[4].



  1. ^ HBoS Plc (2004) HBoS Appoints Head of Public Policy, accessed 23/03/07
  2. ^ British Bankers' Association (2006) 3rd Annual Retail Banking Conference: The Future of Retail Banking Regulation, accessed 23/03/07
  3. ^ The Personal Finance Society (2005) Minutes of the First AGM of the Personal Finance Society on 29/09/05, accessed 22/03/07
  4. ^ National Consumer Federation (2007) Consumer News, accessed 22/03/07