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Spowart quits HBOS as IF expansion plans are put on ice

27 May 2003  |  6058 views  |  0 Jim Spowart - IF

HBOS has scrapped plans for the overseas expansion of Internet banking subsidiary Intelligent Finance, prompting the departure of former CEO Jim Spowart.

Spowart moved to a strategic position at HBOS in the New Year, with a brief to explore the opportunites for launching the IF telenet banking concept in continental Europe and the US.

HBOS says all of the preliminary work relating to this expansion has now been completed but, "because of the current uncertain global economic situation", the plans have been put on hold.

Spowart, who made his name with the banking arm of insurance operation Direct Line, later cemented his reputation for visionary thinking by successfully establishing a greenfield direct bank for UK life assurer Standard Life. He was recruited by Halifax to set up its standalone banking subsidiary IF three years ago.

Jame Crosby, HBOS chief executive says of Spowart: "He is one of the few people who can honestly claim to have changed the shape of UK banking."

The bank, which raised $1 billion in a subordinated debt issue on Friday to support its capital base, maintains that IF remains on target for breakeven by the end of the year.

Expressing disappointment that IF's plans for expansion have been put on ice, Spowart says he intends "to build up a portfolio of roles at a number of different companies" outside the UK financial services sector.

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