Author of critical RBS report may have had personal axe to grind
The author of a report that criticises Royal Bank of Scotland's dealings with small businesses had lodged a complaint about the way his own business was treated by the British bank, a colleague of his has said.
Lawrence Tomlinson, an adviser to UK Business Secretary Vince Cable (pictured), did not disclose in his report that LNT Group, the construction-to-care homes company he runs in the north of England, previously had a grievance with RBS, which is the UK parent of Ulster Bank.
A colleague of Mr Tomlinson said there was no conflict of interest in the non-disclosure because LNT's complaint had nothing to do with the practices of RBS's turnaround unit Global Restructuring Group, which his report is concerned with, and was not part of his evidence. "There was a complaint. It's been dealt with by RBS and it's entirely separate from the GRG issue," Fiona Mawer said, adding that LNT Group had never been moved under GRG's control.
Ms Mawer said Tomlinson had "never made a secret of the fact he is an RBS customer".
Britain's business department said the report into RBS's treatment of small business customers in financial distress had not been commissioned by the department and was entirely Tomlinson's own work.
Business Secretary Vince Cable has demanded an urgent response from RBS and Britain's financial regulator.
RBS, which has appointed Clifford Chance to conduct an inquiry into some of the issues raised by Mr Tomlinson, declined to comment.