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FCA 'highly unlikely' to meet MPs' deadline for publication of damning RBS report

Iain Withers
FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey has written to Treasury committee chair Nicky Morgan -  JANE MINGAY /THE TELEGRAPH

Britain’s financial watchdog has said it is “highly unlikely” it will meet a deadline set by MPs of next Friday to publish a full report into high street lender RBS’s mistreatment of business customers.

The Treasury select committee, led by Nicky Morgan, gave the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) the ultimatum on Wednesday, and said it would consider using Parliamentary powers to compel publication if it did not meet it.

Ms Morgan said: “I am pleased to see that the FCA is trying to get the report agreed for publication or handed to the Committee to meet its deadline.”

The FCA argues it cannot put the report in the public domain without the consent of all parties identified directly or indirectly in it – a process known as "Maxwellisation" that typically takes months to complete.

“If the Committee decides itself to publish the report, it will no doubt want to consider carefully the precedent of publishing a document obtained from the FCA under Parliamentary Privilege where the FCA considers that it is legally constrained from publishing the document itself,” FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey said.

An already published summary of the report found “widespread inappropriate treatment” of firms transferred to GRG, with one in six put in additional financial distress as a result of the unit’s actions.

Pressure has been building on the FCA to publish the full report, with further extracts coming to light in recent weeks, including an internal memo encouraging GRG managers to give customers enough rope to “hang themselves”.

RBS has apologised for mistreating businesses and set up a complaints process and compensation scheme.