City watchdog's summary of an investigation into RBS's restructuring group is accurate, lawyer concludes

 
Lucy White
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The FCA had come under pressure to publish the full report (Source: Getty)

A barrister appointed by MPs to investigate an investigation into the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has concluded the shortened report, published by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), is accurate.

Andrew Green was appointed by the Treasury Select Committee to verify the FCA's summary report into the RBS Global Restructuring Group (GRG), which some small businesses say pushed them into insolvency unnecessarily, was an accurate representation of the full report.

The FCA had refused to publish the full document, saying it was not in the public interest, but after anger from businesses who had been placed in the GRG and pressure from politicians it agreed to publish an interim summary with the conclusions.

Read more: FCA releases RBS restructuring unit update: City watchdog plots "more focused investigation" into RBS-GRG

Yet many people who said they were victims of the GRG were concerned that vital elements of the report had been omitted.

In written evidence, Green said the interim summary “is a fair and balanced account of the findings of the GRG Report, does not contain material omissions and closely reflects the tone and narrative of the GRG Report”.

He did identify one issue, which was included in the summary itself – namely that the FCA did omit “certain findings about GRG management’s state of knowledge of the failings in GRG”.

Read more: Noel Edmonds claims publication of leaked FCA report would sink Royal Bank of Scotland

But Green made no judgement on the FCA's decision to leave out these elements, which the watchdog said was “based on considerations of fairness towards individual members of management” who had not had the chance to give their own evidence.

The FCA had found in its report that more than a third of the 5,900 small businesses transferred to GRG during the review period could have been expected to face insolvency regardless of RBS's actions.

But of those which were “viable”, around 16 per cent “experienced inappropriate action by RBS which appeared likely to have caused material financial distress”.

Read more: Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) plans to publish RBS GRG small business unit report within a year, says Andrew Bailey