City watchdog risking 'reputational damage' by delaying RBS report release

Andrew Bailey has been given a deadline to publish a report into RBS

Andrew Bailey has been given a deadline to publish a report into RBS

The British parliament's Treasury Committee ordered regulators to publish a report into Royal Bank of Scotland's mistreatment of small business customers by February 16.

The Treasury Select Committee has told the Financial Conduct Authority it must publish the much-delayed report on the Global Restructuring Group (GRG) by the end of next week.

"A version of the report is in the hands of third parties, it has been selectively reported by the media", she said, adding that the FCA had "lost control over the timing or content of further public disclosures" of the report.

If the FCA fails to do that, it must instead send a copy to the committee on that day.

FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey was on Wednesday facing down MPs on the influential Treasury Select Committee, where the taxpayer-owned bank's shortcomings were again under the spotlight.

Mr Bailey was warned he risks making a "mockery" of the City watchdog if it continues to delay publication, with Stewart Hosie MP adding the hold-up risks "reputational damage" to the FCA.

Mr Hosie added: "Time is important here".

The TSC wants the report published quickly, because a version fell into hands of broadcaster the BBC previous year, and others are also circulating.

Mr Bailey said publishing the report without the legal checks sets a worrying "precedent" and he urged MPs not to do so using their Parliamentary privilege.

State-controlled RBS's GRG unit is alleged to have pushed struggling firms into bankruptcy in order to be able to pick up their assets on the cheap.

Mrs Morgan said there was "not time now" for the FCA to complete lengthy legal checks before publishing.

Bailey said there was a requirement on the watchdog to give all those identified in the report a right of reply.

Mr Bailey said that the investigation is "well advanced" and "weeks" away from a conclusion. "I think it is very bad, very bad, shocking".

"It's a bad sadness and it should never have happened".

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