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TSB’s parent company failed to test new data centre before IT meltdown

The IT arm of TSB’s Spanish parent company failed to carry out sufficient testing before embarking on a disastrous platform migration last year, according to a new report.

An independent investigation commissioned by the insurer and conducted by law firm Slaughter & May revealed that Sabadell’s IT division, Sabis, had only tested one of the two new data centres that underpinned a new app before it went live.

Slaughter & May’s investigators also found that while TSB’s board asked “a number of pertinent questions”, “there were certain additional common sense challenges that the TSB board did not put to the executive”.

“These included why it was reasonable to expect that TSB would be ‘migration ready’ only four months later than originally planned, when certain workstreams were as much as seven months behind schedule,” the report stated.

The IT incident slashed Sabadell’s 2018 profits by 50 per cent, gave rise to 1,300 fraud cases and prompted the departure of TSB’s then chief executive Paul Pester. It also left nearly two million customers locked out of their accounts.

As NS Tech reported at the time, customers were unable to access TSB’s online services or make payments after the migration. Some were also reportedly given access to others’ data.

In a statement issued in the wake of the report, Pester (pictured) claimed on Tuesday (19 November) that Sabis had “rolled the dice” by only testing one of the new data centres. “This decision was kept from me and the rest of the TSB board,” he said.

Richard Meddings, chairman of the TSB board, said in a statement: “When we commissioned Slaughter and May to carry out this review, we specifically asked for a fully independent and thorough inquiry. Although the report doesn’t paint the full picture of migration, the Board were absolutely clear that we wanted to be transparent and learn fully from those aspects which went wrong.

“Importantly, TSB has evolved to be a better business than the newly created bank which began the migration project. We have already made major changes as a result of what we have learned, including moving to take direct control of our IT operations. With the leadership of Debbie Crosbie as our CEO, we are now well on track to get TSB back to what it does best: serving customers and bringing better choices to UK banking.”