FCA orders RBS to investigate news leaks

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The FCA will force RBS to conduct an inquiry to find out how news that it would pay back an expected £400m to business customers in its former Global Restructuring Group leaked ahead of an announcement from the regulator.

The FCA was due to release a statement on what action it was taking at 7am this morning to reflect the market sensitivity of the announcement.

However, news of the refunds to small and medium-sized enterprises that were customers of GRG between 2008 and 2013 – a combination of the refund of complex fees and redress costs from a new complaints process – first broke late last night.

In a hearing of the Treasury committee of MPs this morning, committee chair Andrew Tyrie said the issue of leaked information was “very serious”.

FCA chief executive Adnrew Bailey said the FCA would be conducting a leak enquiry, but will also be insisting that RBS conduct one.

Bailey said: “We take this as seriously as you do.”

Bailey added that the findings of  Promontory Financial Group’s investigation into RBS on behalf of the FCA may have been out sooner if the activities conducted by GRG were regulated.

Bailey said: “This is not a regulated activity, it is an activity taken by a regulated firm, it does have to meet our fairness and properness tests, senior managers have to meet our senior managers test.”

“One of the factors is they have to put in place an appropriate complaints handling process. In a regulated activity we could have demanded, effectively dictated what the complaints handling would have looked like, so it’s reasonable to assume it would have been a quicker process.”

“It went down to the wire…I would stop short of saying parliament was a lever. This hearing was well known about and was a factor.”