What started as a trickle of banking and financial services executives choosing to leave the UK Banking industry has become a flood over 2011. Whilst many of the public and bank-haters may think that this should be the subject of rejoicing, there has been a very serious loss of talent and many years of experience that has left the UK banking industry or gone abroad. The list of retail banking executives who have exited UK banking include:
- Diana Oppenheimer - Barclays Retail Banking CEO - seeking other opportunities in the US (see http://www.itsafinancialworld.net/2011/09/resignation-of-deanna-oppenheimer-end.html )
- Helen Weir - Lloyds Banking Group CEO - left following the appointment of Antonio Horta-Osorio as new Group CEO
- Brian Hartzer - CEO of Retail Banking at RBSG moved to Westpac, Australia to take up a similar role (see http://www.itsafinancialworld.net/2011/11/wanted-ceo-for-uk-retail-bank.html )
- Lynne Peacock - CEO of National Australia Bank Europe - retired
- Andrew Higginson - CEO of Tesco Bank left to find a 'big CEO' role
- Joy Griffiths - MD of Lloyds TSB and Bank of Scotland moved to Experian (see http://www.itsafinancialworld.net/2011/02/joy-griffiths-leaves-lloyds-banking.html )
There has also been a flood of Banking IT executives who have chosen a different career or a different geoegraphy. The list includes:
- Gavin Michael - Retail CIO at Lloyds Banking Group who left to join Accenture on the West Coast
- Ann Weatherston - CIO at Bank of Ireland moved to Melbourne to take up a similar role with ANZ
- Jayne Opperman - Retail CIO at Lloyds Banking Group moved to Melbourne in a CIO role at ANZ
- Clive Whincup - Service Delivery Director at Lloyds Banking Group moved to Westpac in Australia to take up a CIO role
Such a wave of departures, particularly of so many women, can hardly be good for the UK Financial Industry. It also raises the question of why so many people would take such a big step ( a number of them deciding to move halfway round the world)? Certainly the likes of Vince Cable have rallied the public to despise bankers and made it increasingly unattractive to work for a bank through both financial penalties and through continual attacks on their integrity. The increases in the tax regime has also meant that countries such as Australia, where traditionally the tax system was, at best, comparable to the UK, has now become far more attractive. Along with the Four Pillars in Australia remaining independent of government ownership and growing profitably there are many reasons for executives wanting to go to Australia.
The tax regimes and the growing banking sectors in Singapore and Hong Kong make these cities even more attractive to bankers who want to get on with the job of providing banking services to customers without unnecessary scrutiny and raiding of the wallet by governments.
It is highly likely that this won't be the end of the exodus from the industry. The implementation of the ICB recommendations will continue to make the UK banking industry an unattractive place to work, particularly for those with the freedom to work elsewhere. This can only be good for other countries and will, in the long term, cost the UK financial services sector dearly.