The Financial Conduct Authority has already fined Christopher Willford £30,000 last month over credit crisis failings
The Financial Conduct Authority has already fined Christopher Willford £30,000 last month over credit crisis failingsReuters

The Financial Reporting Council has launched an investigation into the former group finance director of Bradford & Bingley despite the Financial Conduct Authority already fining Chris Willford last month for his failings during the credit crisis.

The FRC, Britain's accounting regulator, announced in a statement that is has launched a probe following the FCA's action to fine Willford £30,000 (€36,384, $49,300) for failing to notify the bank's board about the level risk the lender held, ahead of its investor cash call at the height of the 2008.

The FRC has powers to fine and ban an accountant from practising.

Willford was B&B's finance director between October 2005 and June 2009. B&B, which specialised in buy to-let-mortgages, attempted to raise £400m from a rights issue on 13 May 2008.

Three days after this, Willford received information that showed money set aside against bad mortgage debts (impairments) had reached £35.7m, 63% of £56.5m the forecast for that year.

The FCA said he was also told that arrears and repossessions over the last three months had risen to 2.16% from 2.00% in March 2008 and that the difference between the interest rates B&B charged to, and received from, its customers (net interest margin) fell to 0.9%, compared to 1.06% in March 2008.

B&B was nationalised on 29 September 2008.

"Willford failed to identify and investigate potentially material risks, or alert the board, at a crucial time for the firm. His conduct fell short of the FCA's standards and - senior managers should expect the FCA to take action if they fail to show due skill, care and diligence," said Tracy McDermott, the FCA's director of financial crime and enforcement, in a statement last month.