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MPs argue Sants knighthood discredits honours system

by Alex Steger on Jan 03, 2013 at 07:56

MPs argue Sants knighthood discredits honours system

MPs have hit out at the decision to award former Financial Services Authority (FSA) chief executive Hector Sants a knighthood claiming it discredits the honours system, according to reports.

The Financial Times reported that MPs Douglas Carswell, a Conservative MP for Surrey, and Pat McFadden, Labour MP and member of the Commons Treasury committee, criticised the decision, with Carswell telling the paper: ‘a knighthood is becoming almost as debased a currency as the British pound'.

McFadden told the FT: ‘At a time when the country is still paying for the financial crisis, I think most people will find it odd that someone in a key regulatory position during that period ends up being knighted – especially when British heroes like Mo Farah were not.’

The paper said Sants was thought to have been recommended for the knighthood by chancellor George Osborne, who persuaded him to revoke his decision to quit as head of the FSA after the 2010 election.

35 comments so far. Why not have your say?

Frank Jurga

Jan 03, 2013 at 08:23

OMG - I thought the few comments I read about Sants getting a knighthood were just a joke! Now I know it's a fact, I realise it is even more of a joke. I would allege that it's his dad that should have got a night hood and used it! Wow, you get a knoghthood for overseeing the collapse of the UK Financial Planning Industry - as well as having got a salary! Nice one

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Jan 03, 2013 at 08:32

Always look on the bright-side.

“Some things in life are bad

They can really make you mad

Other things just make you swear and curse.

When you're chewing on life's gristle

Don't grumble, give a whistle

And this'll help things turn out for the best...”

So 2013 has arrived, the RDR has become reality and many advisers of all persuasions will have had this song lyric ringing in their ears.

I am not one to look negatives in isolation, as there is always an element of ‘curates egginess’ in most areas that cause division. I am also aware that with the start of a New Year we should also concentrate on the positives by way of our actions, deeds, thoughts and views.

So while whistling this catchy little tune, buried like bad news in the weekend papers, I noted that Hector had bagged a ‘K’.

With a need to start the year in a positive way very many advisers will see this as a ‘signing-off’ kick in the teeth from somebody who has in their eyes done his very best to fix a system that was not entirely broke, to regulate the wrong people in the wrong way for the wrong reason.

The timing, if it had to happen at all, was terrible, it lacked sensitivity toward the industry and his defence, that it was a reward for the hard work of all the FSA staff, and accepted on their behalf by Hector simply beggars belief.

Normally the recipient seeking support by way of such a justification would still be working for the firm or organization at the time of the award, Hector threw in the towel months ago and even had a new job announced prior to the ‘K’ being announced.

I hope at the very least he had waited to order his business cards at Barclays?

There is something quite rotten in this award and I would dearly like to know who suggested this as being a good idea, who carried it forward and why?

It is a reward for failure, the failure of the FSA and as some have suggested a reward for not being given the top job at the BoE that he had supposedly been promised. Hector Sants may be a really nice guy but from my experience really nice guys generally do not reach such dizzy heights by being ‘nice’.

They are often surrounded by ranks of well paid ‘blame takers’, possess an Arsene Wenger-like ability to not have seen something when you know they did (as to have not seen it would suggest stupidity) and a skin so thick and fire resistant that you could make space shuttle tiles out of it.

I am also very concerned that the head an organisation, now being wound up and replaced as it has been seen as a failure in so many ways, should receive such an honour from a clearly hypocritical government that reacted to the taxpaying screaming mob and sacrificially stripped Fred Goodwin of his knighthood for failures that should have been seen and prevented by the very FSA that Sants headed up?

Nobody at the failed FSA should be seeing reward beyond the inflated salary and pension benefits many are in receipt of.

Sants RDR mission, that he chose to abandon, along with other senior officers from the bridge of the Canary Wharf version of the Cost Concordia before port had been reached, may be a success for some and we certainly hope this will extend to all but he should not be rewarded in such an undeserved way.

Perhaps to restore some integrity in a system that seems to reward public sector mediocre achievements or spectacular failure with equal abandon, a decision to refuse to accept it would be welcomed.

With 2013 being a challenging year for the industry remember:

"If life seems jolly rotten

There's something you've forgotten

And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing.

When you're feeling in the dumps

Don't be silly chumps

Just purse your lips and whistle - that's the thing”.

After all if he cleans up compliance at Barclays as he is being tasked to do, a ‘K’ could be considered as a meritorious achievement?

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Alasdair Sampson

Jan 03, 2013 at 08:33

Fred the Shed loses his knighthood for his part in the UK banking debacle.......and Hector picks one up. It's just balancing the books.

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Can't put name in case of FSA payback!

Jan 03, 2013 at 08:34

So why aren't the peasants revolting? Can't be ar$3d obviously.

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Jenny N via mobile

Jan 03, 2013 at 08:35

Shocking. Utter disgrace.

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Jan 03, 2013 at 08:56

Can we please now refer to Sir Hec .... Sir He....Sir H...(I cant say it!) with his correct nickname....'Sants is Pants'

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Sam Caunt

Jan 03, 2013 at 09:16

Two things strike me about this knighthood. One is that it is a reward for failure which MPs have so readily criticised the BBC for when paying off employees. Secondly, I never expected that a British athlete would ever win the 10,000m Olympic title (let alone the 5,000m). That is success, yet a quota system (don't you hate the quotas and tick box approach to life?) deprives Mo Farah of his right in his year of success. Disgusting really and there are no other words to describe it.

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Jonathan Kirby

Jan 03, 2013 at 09:26

For those who may have missed it there was a Citywire article on Monday 31st regarding this abominable travesty.

Currently there are around 202 comments and also details of a couple of petitions on the subject that people can sign.

Although the political system has been shown up for the shambles it is over their inability to control the FSA monster they created, for once I agree with these MPs who obviously feel, as 99% of the population do, that censure not praise is what is required for Sants.

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Knowledgable insider

Jan 03, 2013 at 09:29

George Osborne 'persuaded' Sants to revoke his resignation? More like once Sants realised that the incoming Government were just as stupid as the previous one he didnt need much persuading. He thought the game was up wand realised it wasnt! This Government is to blame for the all the nonsense and arrogence that is indemic within the FSA come the next election they will pay for their stupidity.

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Bob Donaldson

Jan 03, 2013 at 09:40

@Sam Caunt - Why should Mo Farrah get a medal for doing a well paid and sponsored job. He received his accolade in the medals he won and from the public on the day. Yes I understand say Ben Ainslie and others who have achieved great things but not everyone that took part in the Olympics who won a medal.

The Honours should be for those who go above and beyond the call of duty not for doing their job which is what Hector is being rewarded for although in his case he did it badly.

It seems that the whole system is discredited because as you climb the greasy pole you accumulate honours almost as an obligatory item particularly within the civil service and armed forces.

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Jan 03, 2013 at 09:53

Slimypants getting a K is disgusting and insulting. As said above, a reward for failure and incompetence. Whoever recommended this should be hanging from the same place as Hector should be.

Letter to MP coming up.

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Julian Stevens

Jan 03, 2013 at 09:58

The paper said Sants was thought to have been recommended for the knighthood by chancellor George Osborne, who persuaded him to revoke his decision to quit as head of the FSA after the 2010 election.

Hmmm. Perhaps that should read: The only reason Sants agreed to stay on a bit longer is because he was bribed with the offer of a knighthood. But, even then, he appears to have reneged on the deal by bailing out nine months before the date on which the FSA is scheduled to be consigned ignominiousy to history. So much for remaining on the bridge to oversee the industry's transition into the Brave New World of the RDR. And he even got six months fully paid gardening leave whilst casting around for another highly paid job in the City.

It's a bit like Tony Blair having quit as PM shortly before the brown stuff hit the fan, leaving everybody else to wipe up the mess.

As for Pat McFadden, what credence are we supposed to give to anything he might have to say on the subject? He, as you may recall, penned the foreword to the Statutory Code of Practice for Regulators but has since done absolutely nothing to challenge the FSA's unilateral opt-out from it. The FSA has just been allowed to carry on as if the Code had never been written. Why have you raised no concerns about this over the past five years, Mr McFadden?

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Charles Rickards

Jan 03, 2013 at 10:31

The UK Honours system has lost direction. Honours used to be for those who have performed great service to the nation or their community. These days it seems little more than a celebrity badge or accessory.

One can only hope her majesty slips withh the sword!

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James Clancy

Jan 03, 2013 at 10:34

Interesting site below on how we can all apply to receive honours award


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Gillian Cardy

Jan 03, 2013 at 10:59

My uncle was once proposed for an honour - as I understand it this was close to the end of his civil service career - he declined it on the grounds that he had been doing his job and that, as Charles and Bob said, doing his job however well did not merit an honour from Her Majesty.

It is the granting of honours to those who do their jobs as some kind of addition to the gold watch and pension package that devalues the system - Mr Sants here sits in the same category as senior policemen, civil servants and military personnel ... it is the fact that in some cases the honours sit alongside evidence of actually not having done the job especially well that makes it all the harder to swallow.

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Jan 03, 2013 at 11:05

What a joke.

I wouldn't buy a knighthood for a fiver if the standards are that low.

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Jon De Plume

Jan 03, 2013 at 11:36

Yes, Minister anyone.....?

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Jonathan Kirby

Jan 03, 2013 at 11:39

@ Jon De Plume

Absolutely, I can remember the script almost word for word!

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Chris F

Jan 03, 2013 at 11:48

In 1990 Sants was on the board of UBS when they sacked and sued their head researcher for disclosing what seemed to be abuses of accounting practice.

It is talked about in this article from 2005:


'Yet he blushes when asked to talk about the link and refuses to do so. Eventually, he says, "The only thing I would say, as a former analyst, is that the piece of research was an excellent one." '

This guy really is a class act.

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Sam Caunt

Jan 03, 2013 at 11:58

Bob - Mo achieved something. He was successful. Look at the other olympians and especially the para-olympians who by common consent were short changed in the Honours List because of a quota system.

The honours system is is corrupted but then so is the political system.

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Jon De Plume

Jan 03, 2013 at 11:59

@Jonathan Kirby;

Bernard Woolley: In the service, CMG stands for Call Me God. And KCMG for Kindly Call Me God.

Hacker: What does GCMG stand for?

Bernard: God Calls Me God.

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Danae Bird

Jan 03, 2013 at 13:05

If you feel strongly about this there are a couple of petitions worth signing:




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Simon Kershaw

Jan 03, 2013 at 14:39

Search YouTube for "financial terrorist".

An interesting take on this particular travesty.

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Jan 04, 2013 at 10:10

Whether you think that he should or shouldn’t get a Knighthood for what he has done or hasn’t done, at least understand what he was given the Knighthood for.

It’s not for his attack on IFA’s


The collapse of the banking system


What he got it for was creating an environment from within the financial service sector that freed up capital that could and would used create an economic cycle, rightly or wrongly........

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Jan 04, 2013 at 11:17

More importantly

Does no body send us annual wall planners anymore?

I can understand not sending us a bar of chocolate or little box’s of sweets

But no wall Planners


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steve myers

Jan 04, 2013 at 11:24

John Bruce - Freed up Capital ? Sorry, John but I've clearly been on a different financial services planet than you for the last 25 years !! The banking system has never had more or used less capital - The only thing this man has freed is a law unto himself.

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Jan 04, 2013 at 16:12

@ JOHN BRUCE I know pennies may be tight with RDR and all that but blinkin' heck it's £3 max, they'll be reduced first week in Feb can you wait that long? I have a spare Sesame Bankhall one if you're desperate!

I seem to remember the demise and crisis being everyone elses fault, it's gotta be 'Other Buggars Efforts' surely. Queenie must have been suffering delirium after the Olympics Helicopter jump!

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Jan 04, 2013 at 16:17

Invisible money isn't freed up capital either (someone's got to pay it back!) - sorry don't mean to pick on you but....

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Jan 04, 2013 at 17:20

I see said the Blind Man

The first comment is for those that understand

I have no intention of explaining it in detail, you should be able understand it


The second comment is for those that don’t

Some will understand the first and some will not

But most should get the second,


Some might not

But whether you do or don’t,

You have no control over the first,

But, the second you do

I don’t know if he deserves a Knighthood or not, for us it appears to be a bitter pill to swallow

But ask yourself this,

If, you manage to have his Knighthood withdrawn, will you feel a sense of achievement?

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steve myers

Jan 04, 2013 at 18:09

Not the same sense of achievement I'd feel for his deportation . . . but it's a start.

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Julian Stevens

Jan 04, 2013 at 18:12

To John Bruce ~ Most of the comments here, I suggest, are not personal attacks on Hector Sants and I, for one, do not hate him. Heading up a large organisation such as the FSA cannot be easy for anyone (would you want the job, however big the remuneration package?) Moreover, I broadly support the general principles of the RDR and believe that if we can weather the transition in working practices that it's going to require we will emerge as something much closer to a profession than an industry. That the FSA, as a body corporate, has, IMO, made a terrible hash of implementing the RDR thus far is another matter.

But the fact is that whether by unhappy circumstance or the impossibility of the task before him, Hector Sants is widely perceived not to have met the criteria for a knighthood. So it's not a question of a personalised vendetta against Mr Sants to get the award withdrawn but rather of challenging the very basis on which it was deemed appropriate in the first place.

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Jan 04, 2013 at 18:49

Hey Julian too heavy man, too heavy

We all know why the comments are there

Just provoking a thought


Steve Myers gave a right response, if one was needed at all

Sometimes statements are made to make you ask yourself a question


Perhaps just to ponder on………………..

But Julian I see you understood the first and second statements

This wine is very dry

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Jan 04, 2013 at 19:00

The FTSE closed above 6000 on this Friday

I am looking forward to a fantastic year how about you

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Julian Stevens

Jan 17, 2013 at 22:19

Will Sir Hector Sants from now on be wearing Scantier Shorts?

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Danae Bird

Jan 18, 2013 at 11:31

Does Mr.Sants really believe he deserves his Knighthood or does he believe you don't really need to deserve it to have it?

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