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FCA Refuses To Publish Report On RBS Controversial Restructuring

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has received a lot of negative publicity in the last couple of years as financial watchdogs in the United Kingdom and the United States have highlighted a number of malpractices concerning rigged forex rates and the manipulation of small business owners.

RBS’s Global Restructuring Group (GRG) which is now defunct was alleged to have deliberately pushed small businesses to a point of bankruptcy so that the bank could then go onto purchase those business assets at a much lower price.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) which is the financial watchdog in the UK commissioned consulting firm Promontory Financial Group and auditors Mazars to launch an investigation into GRG and then submit their findings.

There were reports earlier this year that part of the report had already been leaked. As a result, senior members of parliament and Treasury Committee chair Nicky Morgan called on the FCA to make the report public. The FCA is not very keen to make the report public stating that it in doing so it would reveal confidential information regarding the individuals who were part of the
investigation. The FCA has promised to release a detailed summary of the report in the coming weeks.

The FCA’s decision to not release the full report to the public has not gone down well with SME Alliance, the firm representing the group of small business owners who had allegedly been manipulated by the GRG. The Alliance termed the FCA’s decision as shocking and unconscionable.

In a statement, the SME Alliance said

We have no confidence in the FCA's promise to publish a summary of the report. It already published a summary in November 2016 which we now know was woefully inadequate. We want to see the report in full – no more excuses. Tens of thousands of people whose jobs, businesses or livelihoods were destroyed by RBS desperately want this report published

Andrew Bailey, the head of the FCA stated that the watchdog had already engaged external lawyers to review the report summary and determine if it is balance and fair account. He went on to say that the report summary is almost done and will be released shortly.

The FCA commissioned investigation into the GRG arm of RBS has gone on for four years. In November 2016, the FCA stated that it would public a full account of the investigation but has changed its stance since.

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