back to article Ex-CIO must pay £81k over Total Shambles Bank migration

TSB's chief information officer during the British bank's incredible week-long 2018 meltdown didn't check the key supplier responsible for the migration was prepared to push the button before he assured the board that it was, regulators found yesterday. The Bank of England's Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) fined Carlos …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Poor sod. Nobody from Sabadell then?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This should serve as a gentle reminder to all senior execs that they can outsource the job but not the responsibility.

    2. anothercynic Silver badge

      Well, *he is* from Sabadell (the owners). But I suspect you meant no-one from SABIS (the 'outsourced' IT division of Sabadell's), in which case you're right. But given what a cluster this was, I would not be surprised if he took a verbal confirmation from SABIS as gospel, and then got caught with his pants down with SABIS disavowing any such verbal communication ever having taken place (that's why any IT person worth their salt will *always* CTA with a written confirmation).

      1. Plest Silver badge

        Paperwork! Paperwork! Paperwork!

        You got no CR paperwork approved through the CR approval body this week? Sorry bub, ain't nobody doing no changes this weekend!

  2. tiggity Silver badge

    Depends on the package..

    Depends on the package Carlos was on in terms of salary, bonuses, shares, benefits etc. as to whether that fine was a major punishment or just a slap on the wrist.

    Given the stupid amounts of money sloshing around in "top jobs" in big companies I cannot help but feel that 81K might not be that severe...But at least its better than nothing as usually screw ups by management seem to get zero financial punishment.

    1. tmTM

      Re: Depends on the package..

      81k is 81k. Plus the reputational damage of being completely incompetent.

      Mind you, incompetence didn't stop Dido Harding so I doubt it'd stop this chap.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As an American, seeing an actual executive being fined is very unusual. Usually the company has agreed to indemnify executives and covers all expenses, or the investigating body just blames the company as a whole and doesn't really point the figure at any specific individual.

    1. Malcolm Weir Silver badge

      Very true... but I'd observe that we don't know what the executive's employment contract looked like, and it's totally possible that he has a contract whereby he's indemnified against this fine, so the penalty to him is actually nil in real terms (although it won't help his employment prospects, so there's that!)

      1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

        Don't be daft, when you get to this level a minor slipup counts for nothing.

        I do remember a few years back a tech CFO had been set to jail for fraud (or some such) and came out to a nice new very well paid job.

    2. anothercynic Silver badge

      Well, we all know what the American model of indemnifying executives leads to... We've seen it time and again with corporate "we paid a fine but it's not to be taken as an admittance of guilt" bullshit. If all executives understood that they could be held liable personally for doing something dodgy, the chances are that less dodgy stuff would be done and people would be more responsible.

      1. Plest Silver badge

        Business world would probably collapse within 48 hours if all the midly dodgy stuff stopped being done! Ha ha!!

  4. RM Myers

    "The bank ultimately had to bring IBM on board to fix the problems."

    This may be the scariest statement I have seen in El Reg. How bad does an implementation have to be if "bringing IBM in to fix the problem" is considered as an improvement?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "The bank ultimately had to bring IBM on board to fix the problems."

      There may be lots of IBM jokes based in reality, but IBM has been selling hardware, software, and services to the banking industry for decades and they keep coming back. Maybe they know something you don't?

      1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

        Re: "The bank ultimately had to bring IBM on board to fix the problems."

        Which backs to scratch, for starters...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "The bank ultimately had to bring IBM on board to fix the problems."

      Yep that was quite the sly dig!!!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I bet his bonus covered that nicely.

    1. Julz

      The bonus for a successful migration?

  6. Richard 12 Silver badge

    It's still highly unstable

    Even this year there have been multiple times where one part or another of TSB banking has a little lie down in a corner for a few hours.

    1. Right Angles

      Re: It's still highly unstable

      And even when that happens, the status page still claims that everything is fine.

  7. 0x80004005

    He earned about £800k in the year in question

    in other words, the regulator put him in a room with his pit bull terrier and he got bitten by one of its fleas.

    1. Plest Silver badge

      Re: He earned about £800k in the year in question

      Come on, we all know how it works.

      Get an MBA, get a board position and when the shit hits the fan it never sticks, even if it does it doesn't smell and it doesn't stick for very long! Meanwhile the rest of we plebs make one tiny mistake and our feet won't touch the floor bruv as we're booted out the door and hastily replaced. It's been that way since the first rich sod built a factory and lured some gullible pillocks in with promises of a fixed weekly wage, here we are hundreds of years later and it's basically no different, just slightly less smoke and child labour!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Terminated, Staying Broken

    I had had a savings account with the TSB ever since I was a small child (opened by my parents for me), and, later, a current account (although I stopped using it as my main account after they were assimilated by Lloyds, detecting the faint smell of a foul breeze coming in the air in our direction (I was right: remember the PPI mis-selling scandal?)).

    But the online banking borkage was the last straw: the original TSB had been technically competent (they had full featured ATMs where you could make deposits, pay bills, etc, when very few other banks did, and to make a deposit in-branch you only had to give your card to the cashier to swipe - during the LloydsTSB occupation they seemed to have been force-regressed to making you fill in paper pay-in slips, "Papiere, bitte!"), but this major outage was so obviously the end of there being any remaining competence left in the organisation.

    Yes, they reintroduced paying high interest on current accounts as part of their apology (although the new online banking system was so obviously clunky and not at all an improvement on its predecessor), but after they said "We want to regain your trust and keep your custom, and we promise this won't be just for a year", only to go on to (surprise) then withdraw that goodwill measure after a year plus a couple of months, they had fully burned their bridges by then.

    A banking relationship of over 40 years destroyed in an instant, their brand burned, and after such a catastrophic loss of trust I will never go back to them: who knows just how much crufty code still lurks in their system after their rush to try to get the service working? A modern day bank is primarily a database system and associated interfaces: if you can't get that right, then you are nothing.

    1. Plest Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Terminated, Staying Broken

      "A modern day bank is primarily a database system and associated interfaces: if you can't get that right, then you are nothing."

      Rarely read a truer word, spot on.

    2. anothercynic Silver badge

      Re: Terminated, Staying Broken

      Well, to be honest, I've gone to Lloyds branches before with just my ATM card, and did deposits that way... it made things, as you say, life a lot easier. And ironically, my Lloyds branch is also one that was originally a TSB branch, but it remains with Lloyds to this day.

      One bank, originally a building society, then gobbled up by Spain's mega bank (yes, I mean Santander), did it right. Alliance & Leicester were brilliant as a bank, albeit using the Post Office as their branch network. That all went away when Santander merged them with Abbey National. But that said, Santander's newer ATMs now do full deposits (including scanning cheques)... Lloyds still don't (and they've taken away the drop slot deposit things too).

      1. NeilPost Silver badge

        Re: Terminated, Staying Broken

        “ATMs now do full deposits (including scanning cheques)”.

        My Starling Bank App allows me to do that from my phone (up to £1000).

  9. Potemkine! Silver badge
    1. JimC

      Re: Do you know what "nemesis" means?

      Hubris rather than nemesis don't you think?

  10. captain veg Silver badge

    reg units

    "The Bank of England's Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) fined Carlos Abarca £81,000 ($101,000) after making its decision."

    I'm guessing, but would that perhaps be a round hundred grand in Euros?


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