MPs pressure City watchdog

Barrister to scrutinise RBS report alleging closures

RBS hq

RBS: has admitted wrongdoing but denies forcing companies to close

A confidential report on the Royal Bank of Scotland’s alleged mis-treatment of struggling companies is to be scrutinised by a barrister.

Andrew Bailey, chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority has agreed to allow a lawyer to check a summary of the report the regulator has refused to make public.

Westminster’s Treasury Select Committee has appointed Andrew Green QC to inspect the summary on the behaviour of RBS’s small business restructuring unit, the Global Restructuring Group.

It handled 12,000 troubled companies between 2007 and 2012 and some customers have accused it of forcing them out of business so that it could pick up cheap assets.

RBS has admitted some wrongdoing over its handling of small businesses but has said there was no evidence it forced companies to fold.

However, it has set aside £400 million to compensate customers who claim they were mistreated.

The report was leaked a few weeks ago showing that just 10% of the companies placed in the recovery group emerged intact.

Nicky Morgan, chairman of the Treasury Select Committee, said Mr Bailey will appear before them at the end of this month.

She said: “If the advisers’ report does not provide the committee with the assurance it needs, it will decide whether any further steps are required.

“There is no good reason for the Committee’s review to delay the FCA from publishing its summary as soon as possible.”

Last week, she said her committee might force publication if the FCA did not agree to it being scrutinised.

The FCA said last week that it has already asked an independent external counsel to confirm its summary is a fair and balanced account of the full report’s findings.

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