LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority said on Friday it was legally barred from publishing in full a report into alleged mistreatment by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) of small business customers that has been requested by a parliamentary committee.
FCA Chief Executive Andrew Bailey said it was “highly unlikely” that it would be able to publish the report by a Feb. 16 deadline set this week by parliament’s Treasury Committee (TSC).
Bailey said he would provide lawmakers with a copy of the report - extracts of which have already been leaked to media - if they made a further formal request, but urged them against publishing it themselves.
“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,” Bailey said.
Bailey reiterated comments he made to lawmakers this week, saying that for the watchdog to publish the report it would need the permission of everyone who contributed to it, and allow anyone criticised to have a right of reply prior to publication.
The FCA will now write to those individuals, Bailey said.
TSC Chair Nicky Morgan said she was pleased that the FCA was trying to get the report agreed for publication or handed to the committee to meet its deadline.
Bailey told lawmakers this week that the FCA’s investigation into RBS regarding allegations centred on its former Global Restructuring Group was nearing completion.
Reporting by David Milliken and Huw Jones; editing by Stephen Addison and Alexander Smith