Economy

Watchdog dismisses calls for RBS report

Watchdog dismisses calls for RBS report”

The news comes after the report leaked last month, suggesting that more than 90 percent of the businesses put into the lender's Global Restructuring Group (GRG) division were understood to have suffered "inappropriate action" against them by the bank.

The FCA told the bank to commission a report into these claims, which was leaked to the BBC earlier this month.

RBS, bailed-out by the United Kingdom government during the financial crisis, has admitted wrongdoing over its handling of small business customers, while arguing that here was no evidence that it had pushed companies into bankruptcy.

RBS attempted to draw a line under the long-running dispute with small businesses a year ago by putting aside £400m to pay compensation.

Andrew Bailey, the chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority, has told MPs on the Treasury select committee that publication of information in the report could be a criminal offence under the Financial Services and Marketing Act.

"However, I recognise that the public interest justifies greater disclosure of material in the report relevant to the complaints of former customers". We have no confidence in the FCA's promise to publish a summary of the report.

In her response to Bailey's letter, Morgan said: 'If closure is ever to be brought to this long-running issue, Parliament and the public need the account ordered by the regulator.

The committee recognised that such reports were normally not intended for publication, but given it was now in the hands of several third parties, publication was overwhelmingly in the public interest, she said.

Mr Bailey's offer falls short of Ms Morgan's demands, which echoed calls by the SME Alliance and lawyers suing RBS on behalf of businesses affected by the scandal - which allegedly saw RBS' turnaround unit GRG intentionally push businesses towards failure in hopes of picking up their assets on the cheap.

But Ms Morgan said the case to publish the full report was "overwhelming".

A leak inquiry is under way and Bailey said the FCA had asked RBS, the consultancy Promontory Financial Group, which was commissioned to do the report and the accountancy firm Mazars which wrote it, to do the same.

Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) national chairman Mike Cherry said: "More than a decade on from the launch of GRG, the entrepreneurs who had their livelihoods taken away deserve not only the truth, but an apology". Our elected MPs want this report published.

State-backed RBS, which had no comment, has admitted some wrongdoing over its handling of small businesses, but has said there was no evidence it pushed companies into bankruptcy. It already published a summary in November 2016 which we now know was woefully inadequate. I am therefore, like you, concerned at the claim by the BBC that it has seen a copy of the report.



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