Bradford & Bingley's Public Sell-Off 'Flawed'

Article excerpt

The nationalisation of Bradford and Bingley in 2008 was a "flawed decision" that not only destroyed shareholder interests but also a "viable business", it has been claimed.

Investors hit by the company's collapse have expressed their dismay in submissions to the Information Commissioner's Office, which has so far prevented them from accessing any of the official documents.

The Bradford & Bingley Shareholder Action Group, which represents almost a million former shareholders, will appear before a tribunal later this month in their quest for compensation.

In documents seen by The Independent on Sunday, the BBAG said: "It is four years, six months since the nationalisation and despite thousands of requests from B&B share and bond holders, they still do not know why the Government and tripartite regulatory authorities acted as they did.

"B&B had a far stronger balance sheet than Royal Bank of Scotland (RBOS) and Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS), despite this, its savings book and branch network were sold thus destroying it as a viable business and with the Government having control of the winding down process, a matter of continuing and considerable concern to the former shareholders and remaining bond holders.

"Why was B&B treated differently to these other banks?"

Bradford & Bingley, which sponsored many high profile cricket and rugby league teams, was highly exposed to the troubled buy-to-let mortgage market, ran into difficulties when funding from the wholesale money markets dried up at the start of the crisis.

The Government merged Bradford & Bingley's toxic mortgage debt with the so-called "bad bank" of Northern Rock, which was nationalised in 2007. …