Talk:Halifax Bank of Scotland

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Formed from the merger of the Halifax Building Society and Bank of Scotland in 2001, and head quartered in Edinburgh, HBoS ranks third in the list of Scotland's top 500 companies and is the seventh largest bank in Europe.[1] The company employs around 68,000 staff.

HBoS subsidiaries also include considerable interests in Australia where it is said to have expansion plans:[2] Bank of Western Australia Ltd, BankWest, Capital Finance and St Andrews Insurance; and UK companies Clerical Medical, Birmingham Midshires, Capital Bank, Godfrey Davis, Lex Vehicle Leasing, Hill Hire Plc, BM Solutions; The Mortgage Business; Rightmove; First Alternative; Esure; Employee Share Services; Mentor Professional Services; St Andrews Group, St James's Place Bank, St James's Place Capital Plc, and of course Banco Halifax Hispania, Bank of Scotland (Ireland) and Bank of Scotland (The Netherlands).

The HBoS is one of the largest commercial sponsors of sport and the arts in Scotland, to the tune of £19.5 million in 2003, and is best known for its sponsorship of the Scottish Premier League.

HBoS investments

Unlike the Royal Bank of Scotland, HBoS is less involved in overseas project finance. Since 2002 the Bank of Scotland consolidated its position as a leader in PPP/PFI type finance, bringing the first such deal to France as a partner in the construction of a new motorway.[3] In 2004 it won a major share in an Australian PFI initiative, another road-building project.[4] In 2004 the Bank of Scotland part-funded a £35m PPP/PFI deal with the City of Edinburgh Council for the Edinburgh Schools Partnership for the design, construction, financing and operation of 4 schools.[5]

In Glasgow the 3ED consortium, involving the Miller Group construction company, the Halifax bank (now HBoS) and Hewlett Packard computers, will organise construction and retain operational control of the school buildings for the next 29 years. The city council will rent the buildings from 3ED for an annual fee of £40.5 million, an arrangement that is guaranteed to continue for the next 30 years, allowing 3ED to re-coup £1.2bn. This move had been prepared for by the closure of 9 secondary schools in Glasgow, with a population of 30,000 pupils.

HBoS finances Wood McKenzie, a Scottish oil and gas consultancy firm also involved in Caspian oil and gas.[6]

In 2002 HBoS financed Philip Green's take-over of Arcadia, the retail group which owns high street brands such as Topshop, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins and Burtons.[7] No Sweat UK has reported union repression and low wages in this group. Factories in London's Whitechapel producing goods for Arcadia were found to be paying substantially under the minimum wage, and other UK suppliers claimed that the company paid so little that they could not provide better wages or working conditions. In Bombay in 2002 there were reports of intimidation of union members, including harassment, physical assault and reduced work.[8] In 2004, Philip Green wrote himself a cheque for 3460 million as a result of profits from Arcadia,[9] and the remainder went to HBoS, which holds the other 8% of the company.[10]

HBoS and 'ethical investment'

In 2002 HBoS launched asset manager, 'Insight Investors', which later that year started up an 'Investor Responsibility Service' which aimed to make it easier for 'institutional investors to demonstrate a commitment to addressing corporate responsibility issues, without compromising their financial objectives.'[11] Rather than limiting the companies in which it invest, Insight Investors favours the 'constructive engagement' approach, hosting conferences and organising meetings. Thus, rather than withdrawing investment from environmentally destructive energy and mining companies,it invites senior managers to seminar about, for example, biodiversity and management of fragile ecosystems.[12] The major companies invested in include: BAE Systems, BP, British Airways, Cairn Energy, Cadbury Schweppes, Diageo, Easyjet, GlaxoSmithKline, J Sainsbury's, Marks and Spencer's, Safeway, Scottish and Southern Energy, ScottishPower, Shell, Tesco, Tullow Oil and Unilever.[13] The actual benefit of such investment in changing companies' ethical behaviour has yet to be demonstrated.

HBoS failing its poorer customers

The Guardian reported that in November 2004, HBoS began charging up to £1.75 for cash withdrawals from its cash machines. This will hit lower income customers hardest especially those who have to use cash machines to withdraw benefits and pensions. With the closure of so many post offices in recent years, withdrawing benefits from cash machines is becoming more and more common.[14]

HBoS and accounting mismanagement

HBoS was fined £1.25 million in January 2004 for failing to protect against money laundering - they conducted an internal survey in 2002 and could not find records of necessary customer identification documents in 55% of cases.[15] This is an astonishing statistic, suggesting that although the bank should have scrutinised all their customers' accounts when money laundering legislation came into force, it did not do so.


The Chairman of the Board is Dennis Stevenson. In addition there are five executive directors and eight non-executive directors, including Sir Ronald Garrick who is the deputy chairman.

Executive directors

Non-Executive Directors

  • Sir Ronald Garrick
  • Charles Dunstone
  • Tony Hobson
  • Brian Ivory
  • Coline McConville
  • Kate Nealon
  • David Shearer Born in 1959. Until 31 December 2003, David was Senior Partner of Deloitte & Touche in Scotland & Northern Ireland, and until September 2003, a UK Board member. David was previously Director of Global Corporate Finance for Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. David is Governor and Non-executive Director of the Glasgow School of Art. He is a Chartered Accountant and currently a member of the advisory panel to Martin Currie in respect of its developing Private Equity business. David was appointed a Non-executive Director of HBOS plc with effect from 23 March 2004.
  • Karen Jones Born in 1956, Karen has a strong track record of growing and managing businesses. She was previously chief executive of Spirit Group, a 2,000-strong pub and restaurant business. Spirit Group was built up from the successful acquisition of Allied Domecq in 1999 and the more recent acquisition of Scottish & Newcastle Retail in November 2003. Previously, Karen founded and developed both Cafe Rouge and the Pelican Group. Karen was appointed a Non-executive Director of HBOS plc with effect from 24 January 2006.

Spinners and lobbyists


  1. ^ Scottish Enterprise website last viewed 31.3.05
  2. ^ 'HBoS cultivates down under for growth' Sunday Herald 28 November 2004
  3. ^'Bank of Scotland Exports UK lead in PFI/PPP to Europe,' 05.07.02 Last viewed 16.3.05
  4. ^Iain Dey, 'HBOS drives ahead with Australian PFI' 17/10/04 The Scotsman
  5. ^Scottish Business Insider
  6. ^'Caspian & Black Sea Oil and Gas Conference 2004 Key Facts' Last viewed 16.3.05
  7. ^Julia Finch, 'Green gains £460m in Arcadia,' The Guardian 22.10.04,,1333029,00.html Last viewed 23.03.05
  8. ^'A Partial Victory for Bed and Bath workers,' Last viewed 16.3.05
  9. ^Julia Finch, 'Green gains £460m in Arcadia,' The Guardian 22.10.04,,1333029,00.html Last viewed 23.03.05
  10. ^Philip Green pockets £460m dividend from Arcadia
  11. ^'Insight Investment launches investor responsibility service,' 23.11.02 Last viewed 23.03.05
  12. ^Insight Investment, 'Biodiversity: towards best practice for extractive and utility companies' 13.11.03 last viewed 23.03.05
  13. ^'Insight's engagement and voting 2003' Last viewed 16.3.05
  14. ^Philip Inman, 'Taxed at the cash machine' Philip Inman, The Guardian 27.11.04,,1360379,00.html last viewed 23.03.05
  15. ^Heather Tomlinson, 'HBOS flouted dirty money rules' 16/1/04 The Guardian,12410,1124473,00.html