Northern Rocked: What price systems failure? (27 November 2007)

Northern Rock was the first run on a bank in UK for about 20 years. It didn’t fail because the bank of England stepped in to avert it – the last failure was Overend, Gurney and Company which collapsed in 1866. But it was the first run since on-line consumer banking. Who was to blame and what role did the IT systems, website and TV play alongside the irresponsible lending and securitization practices at the bank? Should the FSA and the Bank of England have moved sooner and faster – the evidence was clear enough to cause the share price to fall for 6 months and surely they knew more than the stockmarket. How much are the systems in the USA to blame? How did we manage to import it? What has the cost been and who is paying? How will it all get sorted out? What changes need to be made and does IT have a role in reducing the risks or does it make it more likely to happen again?

Dr Andrew Hilton, OBE

Andrew Hilton is Director of the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation (CSFI), a non-profit think-tank since 1993 supported by 65 City institutions, that looks at the future of the global financial system. The CSFI has held nearly 800 round-tables on issues of pressing interest in the financial services sector including EMU, the single market, the Internet, small business finance, high-tech start-ups, microfinance and regulation, which in turn have led to three books and over 80 reports. Andrew has worked for the World Bank, run a financial advisory service for the Financial Times in New York and is a board member of Observatoire de la Finance in Geneva. Andrew Hilton has a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, an MBA from Wharton and an MA from New College, Oxford.