RBS report branded ‘whitewash’ by MPs

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A report by the financial watchdog, which recommends no further action against Royal Bank of Scotland’s controversial restructuring business, has been called a “whitewash”.

A group of MPs said the Financial Conduct Authority failed to find out whether the bank’s management were involved in the group’s activities.

RBS’s Global Restructuring Group has been accused of shutting healthy firms.

The FCA said its conclusions were backed up by an independent report.

However, MPs were highly critical of the regulator.

“This report is another complete whitewash and another demonstrable failure of the regulator to perform its role,” said Kevin Hollinrake, the co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Fair Business Banking.

Mr Hollinrake pointed out that the FCA was supposed to consider the root causes of the failures at RBS and whether they were known about, or authorised by RBS management.

“They have manifestly failed to do this,” he said.

The FCA said it had consulted independent experts who said its conclusions were “correct and reasonable”.

A review into the GRG turnaround unit published last year found it mistreated thousands of small firms.

Some firms said they were pushed into bankruptcy and were stripped of their assets after they were transferred into the RBS division between 2008 and 2013.

Pushed into bankruptcy

Back in July, when an interim report was published, the regulator said its powers were “very limited”.

It argued there was no “reasonable prospects of success” when it came to action against senior managers.

In today’s report, the regulator said it found “no evidence that any member of senior management was dishonest or lacking in integrity”.

Mr Hollinrake said it is difficult to reconcile the FCA’s findings with what happened, and called upon the FCA to publish a “full account of its findings including naming those responsible for the shameful mistreatment of thousands” of UK small businesses.

RBS Chairman, Howard Davies, said: “We welcome the conclusion of this investigation and the confirmation that no further action will be taken.”

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