FCA given deadline to publish RBS report

7 February 2018, 17:01

The City watchdog has been given a deadline to publish its report into RBS's controversial Global Restructuring Group.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has been criticised for delaying the release of the report, which looks into allegations that the bank - still more than 70% taxpayer owned - mistreated small business customers.

Only a summary has been published so far, although the full version has been leaked to the media and some MPs.

Treasury Select Committee chair Nicky Morgan has called on Andrew Bailey, FCA chief executive, to publish the report or send a full copy to the committee by 16 February.

Mrs Morgan said: "A version of the report is in the hands of third parties, it has been selectively reported by the media, and it may enter the public domain at any time.

"The FCA has lost control over the timing or content of further public disclosures from it.

"For these reasons, the committee has requested that the FCA publish the final definitive version of the report, or send it to the committee, by Friday 16 February."

:: September - FCA boss Andrew Bailey 'must resign' over delayed RBS report

:: October - RBS restructuring unit probed over claims it profited from stricken firms

Mr Bailey appeared before the committee on Wednesday and was told by SNP MP Stewart Hosie that delaying the report's publication could make a "mockery" of the regulator.

Mr Hosie added: "Time is important here.

"If you don't publish, others will."

Mr Bailey said publishing the report without the legal checks sets a worrying precedent and he asked MPs not to do so using their parliamentary privilege.

An interim summary of the review, published by the FCA, found 92% of potentially viable businesses that went into GRG had "experienced some inappropriate actions".

The FCA is also conducting a further investigation into RBS, which Mr Bailey described as "well advanced" and weeks away from a conclusion.

He added: "We view the things that happened (at GRG) very seriously. I think it is very bad, very bad, shocking."

On the impact on RBS business customers, Mr Bailey told MPs: "People have suffered through no fault of their own.

"It's a terrible sadness and it should never have happened."

Global Restructuring Group (GRG) was intended to help struggling small and medium-sized businesses, but it faces allegations that it made things worse for businesses so it could seize assets or benefit the bank.

The bank denies this.