Releasing RBS GRG report 'not in public interest': FCA chief
16 September 2017
The UK's financial watchdog has refused to publish a leaked report into the scandal at Royal Bank of Scotland's controversial restructuring unit, despite the insistence of an influential committee of MPs.
Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) chief executive Andrew Bailey demurred after Tory MP and Treasury Committee chair Nicky Morgan, raised concerns in a letter to the FCA, about a leak to the BBC last month and called for the report to be published in full.
But Bailey said that publishing the skilled persons or Section 166 review – which collects insight about a firm's activities from third parties – would mean revealing confidential information about the individuals who contributed to it.
''However, I recognise that the public interest justifies greater disclosure of material in the report relevant to the complaints of former customers. It is therefore our intention to publish a detailed summary,'' he said.
According to Bailey, the FCA has asked external lawyers to ensure the summary is a ''fair and balanced'' account of the report's findings. He added that the report is nearly ready for publication.
According to commentators, Bailey's position failed to address Ms Morgan's demands, as also by the SME Alliance and lawyers suing RBS on behalf of the businesses affected by the scandal. RBS's turnaround unit, Global Restructuring Group (GRG), intentionally pushed businesses towards failure in hopes of picking up their assets on the cheap, according to the affected businesses claim.
The GRG was meant to help struggling small and medium-sized businesses and over 12,000 of them came under its authority between 2007 and 2012.
But, according to the allegations (denied by RBS), it made things worse for businesses so it could seize assets or benefit the bank.
According to Bailey, such reports are done "on the basis that there is no intention to publish" as this "greatly facilitates the efficiency of the process".