A Harley Street doctor has emerged as one of the latest small business owners seeking to take Royal Bank of Scotland to court.
Dr Robin Lawrence, one of the owners of 96 Harley Street, is understood to be suing the bank for at least £1m over interest rate swaps mis-selling.
The psychiatrist claimed that RBS “fraudulently” mid-sold him swaps in 2008. He said an RBS employee made a “personal recommendation” to enter into a swap that was not suitable and that the bank “failed in its duty to warn the claimant of the risks in relation to the swap so that the claimant could reasonably understand the nature and risks of the swap and decide whether or not to enter into it on an informed basis”.
In a claim form seen by City A.M., Lawrence also claimed the bank “failed to offer fair and reasonable redress” when the Financial Services Authority, now the Financial Conduct Authority, launched a compensation scheme in 2012.
Instead of offering compensation to Lawrence, who is being represented in court by Charles Russell Speechlys and Forum Chambers, the bank offered to cancel the original swap and “replace it with an alternative product”.
An RBS spokesperson said: “We have strong defences to this claim and will defend it vigorously in court.”
Lawrence’s 96 Harley Street was one of thousands of small businesses that were mis-sold interest rate swaps in the first decade of this century.
The FCA estimated in 2012 that up to 40,000 interest rate swap agreements may have been mis-sold to small businesses since 2001. These swaps are financial products that were sold to businesses to protect them against interest rate fluctuations. When the financial crisis hit, and interest rates began to fall, many companies that had fixed their rates at higher levels lost large amounts of money.