The controversial former chairman of the Manchester-based Co-operative Bank, Paul Flowers, has been banned from the financial services industry by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Flowers was at the Manchester based bank when it was revealed that it had a £1.5 billion gap in its finances after it purchased the Britannia Building Society and aborted its plans to buy hundreds of Lloyds branches.

Flowers, who was also the chair of Manchester Camerata, was later exposed by the Daily Mail, which caught him buying and using illegal drugs including crystal meth, crack cocaine and ketamine.

The paper revealed Flowers filmed buying the substances just days after he was grilled by the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee over the bank’s disastrous performance.

Flowers stepped down as chairman of the Co-operative Bank amid the claims of illegal drug use and inappropriate expenses payments four years ago and admitted being in possession of cocaine, crystal meth and ketamine at Leeds Magistrates’ Court in May 2014.

The FCA said he had “demonstrated a lack of fitness and propriety required to work in financial services” and consumers would lose faith in the industry if he was allowed to continue in it.

Mark Steward, executive director of enforcement and market oversight at the FCA, said: “The role of chair occupies a unique place of trust and influence. The chair is pivotal in setting expectations of a company’s culture, values and behaviours.

“Mr Flowers failed in his duty to lead by example and to meet the high standards of integrity and probity demanded by the role. These high standards are what the financial services industry and the wider community rightly expect of its senior individuals.”

Two of the former  Bank chiefs have also been banded from holding senior roles in the City for life.

Barry Tootell, the former chief executive, and Keith Alderson, who ran the bank’s corporate banking arm were also fined £173,802 and £88,890 respectively, as well as being banned from holding what the regulator calls a “significant influence function” in a regulated firm.


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