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FCA under fire for giving banker key role in RBS investigation

The FCA has come under fire from campaigners for handing a key role in its inquiry into the treatment of small businesses by RBS to an investment banker.

The Times reports that the FCA feared it did not have sufficient expertise in commercial lending, so decided to appoint an external consultant to its investigation into how RBS’ Global Restructuring Group treated small firms: former JP Morgan managing director Rene Poisson.

The paper says that it was previously undisclosed that Poisson Management had worked on the project, and also notes that the appointment has been challenged because Poisson himself appears to have a limited history in the small business lending market.

While a so-called “skilled person” is normally appointed to conduct what is known as a Section 166 investigation where the FCA has concerns over the conduct of a business, the regulator picked financial consultancy Promontory for this, and would not normally rope in additional parties such as Poisson on an ad hoc basis, the paper claims.

A source tells the paper that an open tendering process should have been conducted and the appointment should have been disclosed.

The FCA confirmed to the paper that Poisson provided technical advice but did not influence Promontory’s findings, while Promontory declined to comment and Poisson was unavailable for comment.

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