Financial Conduct Authority under fire for withholding its report into RBS' mistreatment of business customers

Catherine Neilan
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The FCA will instead publish a "detailed" summary of the report (Source: Getty)

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is refusing to publish the full report into RBS' mistreatment of business customers, insisting that it does not "best serve" public interest.

Chief executive Andrew Bailey has told Treasury Select Committee chair Nicky Morgan he will not make its findings into the way RBS' Global Restructuring Group acted fully public, despite the recent leak and the threat of more to come.

Bailey told Morgan he does not believe the public interest "is best served by us [the FCA] publishing the full report". Instead the FCA will publish a "detailed" summary, which City A.M. understands will be published after a decision has been taken on enforcement in the next few weeks-to-months.

Morgan slammed his decision, insisting the public interest in full publication was "overwhelming".

“The committee recognises that such reports are not intended for publication, and should in normal circumstances remain confidential. But the report is now in the hands of an unknown number of third parties. If closure is ever to be brought to this long-running issue, parliament and the public need the account ordered by the regulator. And so we consider that the public interest in publication in this specific case is overwhelming."

Morgan added: “Following my letter to Mr Bailey earlier this month, committee colleagues and I have been overwhelmed by messages from those who consider that their businesses and livelihoods were destroyed by RBS’ GRG. Those affected have a right to know what really happened."

Bailey will appear before the committee in one of its first hearings next month, and it is expected that MPs will use the rights available to them to force Bailey's hand and release the report.

But the RBS-GRG Business Action Group, which represents more than 500 affected businesses, is taking legal advice regarding a potential judicial review of the FCA's decision not to publish the report. It also reiterated its call for Bailey to resign.

A spokesman said: "The FCA's continued refusal to publish this report is shocking and unconscionable. The activities of RBS's Global Restructuring Group and its rogue bankers did immense harm to the British economy. Even RBS itself has admitted that serious mistakes were made.

"Thousands of people who livelihoods, jobs and businesses were destroyed by RBS desperately want this report published. Our elected MPs want this report published. The only person who doesn't want this report published, it seems, is Andrew Bailey.

"Bailey's job is to protect the public from financial malpractice. If he finds it distasteful to share his organisation's findings with the public, he should step aside. We have no confidence in the FCA's promise to publish a summary of the report. It already published a summary in November 2016 which we now know was woefully inadequate. We want to see the report in full - no more excuses."

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