Photo by Policy Exchange/Flickr
The financial watchdog of Britain has said that it is “highly unlikely” that it will meet a deadline of next Friday that was set by MPs to release a full report into the mistreatment of business customers of the RBS, a high street lender.
On Wednesday, Nicky Morgan leads the Treasury select committee. The committee gave the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) the ultimatum and said that it would consider making use of Parliamentary powers to force the publication if it did not meet the deadline.
Morgan stated: “I am pleased to see that the FCA is trying to get the report agreed for publication or handed to the Committee to meet its deadline.”
The FCA argues that it cannot put the report in the public domain in the absence of the consent of all parties that are identified directly or indirectly in it – a process that is known as “Maxwellisation” that normally takes months to complete.
Andrew Bailey, the chief executive of the FCA, stated: “If the Committee decides itself to publish the report, it will no doubt want to consider carefully the precedent of publishing a document obtained from the FCA under Parliamentary Privilege where the FCA considers that it is legally constrained from publishing the document itself.”
A summary of the report was already published. The report discovered “widespread inappropriate treatment” of companies that are transferred to GRG, with one out of six placed in additional financial distress as an outcome of the actions of the unit.
The FCA has been experiencing heightening pressure to publish the full report, with more extracts coming to light during recent weeks, including an internal memo that is encouraging the managers of GRG to give their customers enough rope to “hang themselves.”
An apology has been issued by the RBS for its mistreatment of businesses, and it has already established a complaints process and compensation scheme.