Treasury select committee to force FCA's hand over RBS' distressed business report

RBS building

The chair of the Treasury select committee has threatened the FCA with rarely-used powers, compelling it to publish details of its review into RBS’ treatment of business customers.

Conservative MP Nicky Morgan has written to Andrew Bailey to demand "maximum transparency" on the watchdog's report into defunct Global Restructuring Group (GRG), which is accused of having "artificially distressed" otherwise viable firms.

The report was started more than three years ago but has still not been published, despite being subject to a number of leaks and the threat of more to come.

Morgan has appointed legal adviser Andrew Green QC to compare the FCA's summary of its report - which it plans to release at some point - with the underlying report.

If Green deems that the summary does not reflect the underlying report in a "fair or meaningful" way, whether he considers that the summary has "meaningful omissions", or if the FCA refuses him access then "the committee may use its formal powers to require the FCA to produce the report", she said.

Select committees have the right to "send for persons, papers and records", with the threat of sanctions for those who do not comply.

“In any case, the long-awaited summary should be published as soon as possible," Morgan added. "The committee’s review is not a reason for further delays.”

An FCA spokesperson said: “The FCA has committed to publishing a detailed summary of the GRG report. To provide assurance on the summary we previously asked an independent external counsel to confirm that it is a fair and balanced account of the full report’s findings.

"We welcome further dialogue with the TSC on providing assurance about the publication of the summary.”

But spokesman for the RBS-GRG Action Group, which represents more than 500 businesses, said they would accept "nothing less than publication of the full report".

"When this report was commissioned, everyone expected it to be published. The FCA itself said it intended to publish. The only reason the FCA doesn’t want to publish now is because it doesn’t like the report’s contents.

"Let's be clear about the public interest. 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.

"We thank Nicky Morgan for her intervention. But a precis of this report, with all the telling detail taken out, is not good enough for the thousands of people who livelihoods, jobs and businesses were destroyed by RBS. We want to see the report in full - no more excuses.”

This is the second time since her appointment to the TSC in July that Morgan has written to Bailey demanding publication of the skilled persons' report into GRG. In response, he 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."

Full story: Treasury select committee to force FCA's hand over RBS' distressed business report: City A.M.

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