Financial watchdog, the FCA, pushes back RBS report on small business practices

Billy Bambrough
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Royal Bank Of Scotland Loses Over £1.5bn In Half Year After IT Meltdown
Another scandal for RBS would be bad news for the governments plans to get the bank off the public books (Source: Getty)

The release of a review into whether business customers of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) were mistreated has been pushed back until early 2016.

The first part of the investigation into RBS's global restructuring group (GRG) was meant to be announced by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) before the end of this year.

The financial watchdog is looking into whether the taxpayer controlled bank moved viable firms into its restructuring group so it could charge more and seize their assets.

The FCA: “The work is ongoing and good progress has been made, and all parties remain keen to complete this review quickly.”

Some 250 business owners, who claim to have been mistreated by the bank, have formed an action group and are considering suing for “unlawful means conspiracy”.

The report is being put together by consultants Promontory Financial Group, and audit firm Mazars.

A previous report, commissioned by RBS and carried out by law firm Clifford Chance, found no evidence of wrongdoing by RBS.

RBS is now 73 per cent owned by the government after the sell off began this year.

Chancellor George Osborne wants the bank to return to private ownership as soon as possible though if the bank were to face another scandal it could slow the process.

Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the Treasury select committee, said:

Those affected will find this disappointing. The longer the delay, the longer that small firms – possibly forced out of business by GRG – may have to wait to receive compensation. This is because RBS will only take a decision on a possible redress scheme after the regulators’ report is published.

The Treasury committee has recently quizzed the heads of the financial regulators on the latest report into the failures at HBOS.

Tyrie added: “The Committee will want to examine the report carefully, when it finally appears.”

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