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FCA refuses government request to publish leaked RBS report

15th September 2017
"I recognise the public interest in the outcome of the GRG review but I do not believe it is best served by us publishing the full report."

The FCA has denied a Treasury Committee request to publish a leaked report into the treatment of customers in RBS’s Global Restructuring Group.

Andrew Bailey, Chief Executive of the FCA, responded stating that he does not believe the public interest "is best served by us publishing the full report".

Nicky Morgan, Chair of the Treasury Committee, wrote to Andrew Bailey earlier this month to demand the full publication of the report.

GRG was a support unit for troubled businesses which came under fire in 2013 after Lawrence Tomlinson - then Entrepreneur in Residence at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills - made a number of allegations against RBS, primarily that it mistreated troubled businesses to profit from their financial hardship.

He claimed that the bank "artificially distresses an otherwise viable business and through their actions puts them on a journey towards administration, receivership and liquidation".

On 17 January 2014 the FCA announced its review into the conduct of GRG.

In a letter to Nicky Morgan, Andrew Bailey said: "I recognise the public interest in the outcome of the GRG review but I do not believe it is best served by us publishing the full report.

"Section 166 reports are an important supervisory tool for the FCA. They are conducted on the basis that there is no intention to publish, and it is our view that this greatly facilitates the efficiency of the process.

"Individuals who may be identifiable in the GRG report have not had the opportunity to see or comment on adverse comments which may relate to them.

"However I recognise that the public interest justifies greater disclosure of material in the report relevant to the complaints of former customers. It is therefore our intention to publish a detailed summary of the Section 166 report."

Commenting on the correspondence, Morgan said: “Seven years since it was shut down, there are still conflicting accounts of what really happened to customers referred to GRG. The leak and selective reporting of the skilled persons’ report, which the FCA has had for almost a year, has added to the confusion. This situation is unsustainable.

“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.

“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.

“The Committee is due to see the FCA next month, and I have no doubt that these issues will be raised.”

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