The head of the Financial Conduct Authority has said it was “unfortunate” that Royal Bank of Scotland PLC (LON:RBS) did not more readily accept strong criticisms made in a report on its treatment of struggling businesses during and after the financial crisis, Reuters has reported.
In comments today to the UK parliament's Treasury Select Committee, Andrew Bailey, chief executive of the FCA said he believes RBS should have reacted differently to the conclusions of the financial watchdog’s report.
RBS's Global Restructuring Group (GRG) has been accused by customers of driving them to bankruptcy in order to pick up their assets on the cheap.
The FCA published a detailed summary of consultant Promontory's report into GRG last week, but it has refused to publish the report in full.
Bailey told the lawmakers: "The report is strongly critical of RBS, and I think it is frankly unfortunate that RBS has not in a sense accepted that more readily.”
The report summary outlined numerous failings, and RBS said last week the most serious allegations against it had not be upheld.
Bailey was repeatedly asked by the Treasury committee's chair Nicky Morgan about why the watchdog has taken so long to report back on GRG.
The watchdog’s boss said this was partly due to there being "no meeting of minds" between RBS and Promontory, the external consultant hired by the watchdog to write the report. This meant that the FCA had to spend time checking the report, Bailey said.
The FCA's investigation into GRG and its staff was continuing, Bailey said, without elaborating on when it would be concluded.
"It depends where it leads to, frankly. It could lead to enforcement action," he added.