MPs set to publish RBS report as FCA misses deadline

MPs set to publish RBS report as FCA misses deadline

The Financial Conduct Authority has missed its deadline to publish a report into RBS’ treatment of small businesses.

Earlier this month, the Treasury select committee set a deadline of 16 February for the regulator to publish its skilled persons’ report into Royal Bank of Scotland’s treatment of small business customers in its Global Restructuring Group.

The deadline has now passed, meaning the FCA has sent it to the committee, which will meet on Thursday (20 February), when Parliament returns, to decide its next steps.

Nicky Morgan, chairman of the Treasury committee, said: "At that meeting, I will be asking members to agree to publish the final, unredacted report under parliamentary privilege as soon as possible."

The GRG division of RBS, some 71 per cent of which is still owned by Government, was a business support unit for troubled firms. Some 12,000 companies were transferred into GRG between 2007 and 2012.

But problems were noted in November 2012 when allegations were made about the firm’s treatment of businesses in distress. A report claimed the bank artificially distressed otherwise viable businesses, that businesses were not supported in a manner consistent with good turnaround practice, and that the insolvency process lacked fairness and accountability.

The watchdog first published a summary of its key conclusions in November 2016 and a year later said it was continuing to investigate the matters arising from the skilled person’s report and was "focussing on whether there is any basis for further action within our powers".

Earlier this month, in a letter to FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey, Ms Morgan warned: "If the FCA doesn’t publish or provide the report by Friday (16 February), it will have breached an order of the House of Commons and may be found in contempt of Parliament."