9th/10th October, 1999 - The FSA Intervenes
Over the weekend, I work on our justification for the £10 million e-procurement savings in 2000 for the defence document. That is really not a lot of savings given the size of our total spend (close to £2 billion p.a.) but the analysis and sign-off by KPMG is so rigorous it is as much as I think we can clearly justify. A key question is whether we can we do it through better policies, and ensuring budget holders use the contracts we in Purchasing have negotiated? That needs some management willpower to get people to comply with the policies, something that has been in short supply generally within NatWest. Or do we have to spend loads of money up-front building new systems in order to get the benefit? Naturally, the objective is to prove the former as this is about maximising short-term profit. I think we can make a pretty good and convincing case, particularly as the bid must surely concentrate minds on things that save money!
The Sunday Times reports that advisers and non-executive directors told Rowland that we could not mount a credible defence with Derek Wanless in charge. We considered making Ron Chief Executive, but the FSA (the Financial Services Authority) indicated it was unhappy with the top two jobs going to non-bankers. (I'm not sure that makes sense- now Sir David has the top two jobs himself and he is still not a banker!) But the FSA was keen that Richard Delbridge, whom they know well and trust completely, stayed on a par with Ron. That must strengthen Richard's position in the hierarchy. Other speculation is that Derek could get over £2 million including share option payout, and that we may consider a management buyout or trade sale of Gartmore.
2019 notes - the FSA was finally abolished in 2013, after dis-satisfaction around how it had handled the banking crash of 2008/9. Its roles were split between the new Financial Conduct Authority and the Bank of England.