British MPs call for investigation into ‘untouchable’ senior bankers
15 Aug 2018

A group of Members of Parliament has written to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), demanding the release of information pertaining to a Royal Bank of Scotland probe in order to ascertain which bosses were personally accountable for the misconduct that harmed many small firms.

The calls for fresh action come after the FCA recently stated that it would not be taking any action against RBS, whose Global Restructuring Group (GRG) has been hotly criticised for mishandling businesses.

FCA chief Andrew Bailey said in July: “It is important to recognise that the business of GRG was largely unregulated and the FCA’s powers to take action in such circumstances, even where the mistreatment of customers has been identified and accepted, are very limited. Taking action was therefore always going to be difficult.”

However, the regulator’s decision is ‘disappointing’ and ‘unsurprising’ said Kevin Hollinrake MP, Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Fair Business Banking, who highlighted that some of the top executives behind the disaster are still in their jobs.

In a letter to Bailey, Hollinrake said: “The FCA should release all of their findings so that the untouchable senior managers at RBS GRG, many who remain working in the banking sector, are held to account. The public, the press and indeed the financial sector themselves have a right to know who is responsible for this misconduct”.

He also explained that: “The FCA should release all findings and evidence they have obtained in their investigation of RBS GRG, unredacted so that the individuals who are responsible for this misconduct are in the public domain.

“The FCA have an obligation to release this information so that politicians can have a say in whether it is truly the case that no further actions can be applied.

“As lawmakers we have an obligation to the public to ensure that those who are responsible are accountable and not untouchable, as indeed is the case now where the individuals responsible are protected by the regulatory inadequacy of our current system”.

Asked to comment, a spokesman for the FCA told KYC360 that: ‘We have received the letter and will respond.’ RBS did not respond by press time.

The lawmakers’ accusation that the FCA is ‘shielding’ top bosses comes just months after it was accused of being soft on top bankers again.

In May it fined Barclays boss Jes Staley £640,000 for trying to identify a whistleblower, the decision was widely criticised as many felt stronger action should have been taken against Staley.

Generally, allegations of the regulator ‘softening up’ towards the banks continues to resurface despite its implementation of the Senior Managers and Certification Regime, a programme aimed at addressing misconduct and the lack of accountability within the top ranks of banks and other financial firms.

– Irene Madongo

Read more:

HSBC expects to pay $1.5 billion in tax evasion, money laundering fines

UK accounting watchdog bans three bosses over ‘most serious’ misconduct

UK Serious Fraud Office sees five-fold increase in money laundering reports

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