The Treasury select committee has threatened to force the City regulator to publish a contentious report into alleged mistreatment of small businesses by the Royal Bank of Scotland unless the Financial Conduct Authority commits to a deadline.
Nicky Morgan, the head of the select committee, told the FCA’s top brass on Wednesday that she would write over the next couple of days “with a clear request to publish, and a timescale”.
“Otherwise, I think it will be the case that the FCA will find that events overtake them in terms of publication,” she said, reminding the FCA of the committee’s powers to compel publication.
It is the latest salvo from the committee to the regulator over the independent report, commissioned by the FCA four years ago into allegations that RBS mistreated small businesses it was meant to help in the wake of the financial crisis. Thousands of customers have complained that the state-backed bank pushed them into restructuring to profit, at a time when banks were trying to shrink their balance sheets.
The FCA has an ongoing enforcement investigation into the matter following the findings of the independent review.
The select committee’s threat comes as the FCA stands accused by a politician of “sanitising” the findings through its official summary of the report. Clive Lewis, the Labour MP for Norwich South, also accused RBS’s chief executive and chairman, Ross McEwan and Sir Howard Davies, of misleading the select committee, an allegation the bank denies.
Up until last week, the FCA has refused to publish the report, citing legal reasons. The report, undertaken by a consultancy called Promontory, is a so-called Section 166 review, which are done as an initial investigative step, and are kept confidential by statute. RBS had told the FCA it was unhappy with key parts of Promontory’s findings.
Last week, Mr McEwan and Sir Howard told the same committee that they would be content for the FCA to publish the report, which prompted the FCA hours later to pledge that it would seek to publish, but only after the conclusion of its probe and only with the consent of individuals identified in it.
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