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Kingman to go private


John KingmanSo John Kingman is leaving UK Financial Investments “in due course” to spend more time with the private sector. That, at least, is the line put out by Robert Peston, the BBC reporter who could sometimes be confused for his personal press officer, on his blog.

As Pesto observes:

He’s wanted to move into the private sector for a couple of years – and said as much to the Treasury’s permanent secretary, Nick Macpherson, last summer.

That Kingman is leaving so soon into his mission may, as Pesto observes, occasion surprise. He slyly implies that Kingman is leaving to avoid political interference by the beastly Tories should they win office.

In reality, he’s probably moving on because he rightly perceives that it is going to be a long and thankless slog at UKFI. The shares will take years to sell, and in the meantime UKFI will probably be the whipping boy for a government that wants to get the best price for its shares while urging banks to lend more, protect consumers, etc.

No early bank exit for Britain

John Kingman has finally stated the obvious. After nine months of near-silence, the civil servant responsible for managing the UK government’s bank shareholdings has piped up to say Britain must be patient in recovering the 35 billion pounds it has so far injected into Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group.

But Kingman has not gone far enough in stating his objectives. If British taxpayers are to fully recover the sums they have pledged to rescue their banks, they should hold onto their shares for a very long time.

Managing incentives, UK banks edition

Confused about the British government’s approach to its bank investments? You’re in good company. Consider the following statements from Royal Bank of Scotland and its main shareholder(emphasis is ours):

June 23rd: Sir Philip Hampton, chairman of RBS, on the £9.6m cash-and-shares pay package awarded to Stephen Hester, the bank’s chief executive: