Sunday 25 August 2019

FCA publishes final summary of report into RBS restructuring unit

The financial watchdog has made changes to the initial summary following recommendations in a specialist advisers’ report.

A picture of a RBS sign (PA)
A picture of a RBS sign (PA)

By Ben Woods, Press Association Chief City Correspondent

Britain’s financial watchdog has released its final summary of a report investigating how the Royal Bank of Scotland’s controversial restructuring unit treated small business customers.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has made a series of changes to the initial summary following recommendations in a specialist advisers’ report to the Treasury Select Committee spearheaded by Andrew Green QC.

Among the recommendations, Mr Green called on the watchdog to give further detail on how “shortcomings” in Global Restructuring Group’s (GRG) systems affected the way customers were treated, to include findings about the customer transfer process in Northern Ireland, and give greater focus on GRG’s use of upside instruments.

The specialist advisers’ report – first published in October – said the FCA had “gone to considerable lengths” to be fair and accurate, but flagged that it had also left out certain information about how much managers at GRG knew about the failings.

Assessing the interim summary, Mr Green wrote: “Our assessment is that … the interim summary is a fair and balanced account of the findings of the GRG Report, does not contain material omissions and closely reflects the tone and narrative of the GRG Report.”

RBS has been dogged by allegations that it intentionally pushed small businesses towards failure in the hope of picking up their assets on the cheap.

In its interim summary published last month, the FCA pointed to “significant concerns” about how small business customers were treated by the bank and said it may take further action against the state-backed lender.

It comes after Nicky Morgan, chairwoman of the Treasury Select Committee, ramped up pressure on the FCA to publish details of misconduct by RBS and threatened to use “formal powers” to demand publication of the full leaked report into the lender.

A spokesman for the GRG Action Group, which represents more than 500 businesses, said: “We still believe a summary alone is insufficient. The report needs to be published in full – the thousands of people whose livelihoods, jobs and businesses were destroyed by RBS’s restructuring division deserve nothing less.”

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