FCA appoints independent investigators to examine RBS

In a statement, the FCA said it had hired Promontory Financial Group and Mazars to consider allegations of poor practice set out in a previous report by Lawrence Tomlinson and referenced by Sir Andrew Large.

The appointment of the two investigators comes nearly two months after the FCA first ordered the probe in autumn last year, following claims the bank had forced firms out of business to benefit its own in-house property arm.

The first stage of the review will consider RBS’s treatment of customers referred to its Global Restructuring Group, including some cases where customers have already raised concerns with Dr Tomlinson, the department of business, innovation and skills, and the FCA itself.

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The review will also consider whether any poor practices were widespread and systematic.

If the findings reveal issues that come within the FCA’s remit, the regulator has confirmed it will consider further supervisory measures.

Former FSA director Jon Pain, now head of conduct and regulatory affairs at RBS, said the banking giant recognised that a full investigation of these issues was vital in order to strengthen the “trust our customers place in us”.

In addition to the FCA review, he said RBS had commissioned City law firm Clifford Chance to conduct a further independent investigation into these issues.

Mr Pain said: “Any customer with concerns about their experience with GRG can contact Clifford Chance to have their case examined.”

Adviser view

Ian Highton, Financial Life Planner at Leicester-based Essential Financial Advisers, said despite the FCA’s announcement on RBS, it was unlikely to affect how clients dealt with RBS in the future. He said: “There are really only four or five banks these days. People do not have a great deal of choice.”