FSA puts back date for bank probe report

BRITAIN’S financial watchdog has delayed the publication of a long-awaited report into the Royal Bank of Scotland’s collapse during the financial crisis.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) had promised to publish its findings later this month, yet it will now wait until April at the earliest to make its investigation public.

The regulator is currently compiling a report, including interviews with top staff, into the management of the bank in the run up to its £45bn government bailout.

It has already spent £7.7m in fees investigating RBS, although it has yet to reveal any substantial findings.

In December, the FSA caused outrage amongst the public and politicians after it said it would not reveal the findings of its initial investigation.

After the outcry, chair of the watchdog Lord Adair Turner wrote to Treasury Select Committee chairman Andrew Tyrie saying a public report would be compiled.

However, a number of key players with knowledge of RBS’ operations during the financial crisis have yet to be interviewed, according to reports.

Former RBS chief executive Sir Fred Goodwin is said to have been interviewed just once, for a short period, several months ago.

A requirement for the regulator to gain the permission of those it interviews for the report could also be causing a delay, according to former FSA official Ian Mason.

Now the head of law firm Baker & McKenzie’s regulation team, he said: “They’ll try and publish as much as they can whilst protecting the interests of those that have been investigated.”

He added: “They’ll have put quite a lot of thought into how to publish this. Given the interest there’s been they can’t want to delay it for much longer.

“They can’t put something out there that is just a one page summary that’s quite bland. The expectation is that there will be detail.”