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Monday, December 12, 2011

The FSA's Report Into RBS

The long awaited, and much delayed, report by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) into the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) near collapse has finally been issued.

The FSA concludes there were “underlying deficiencies in RBS management governance and culture which made it prone to make poor decisions”.

The report highlights that Sir Fred Goodwin (the then CEO) lobbied to have a warning letter from the FSA altered, to remove references to the deterioration in his relationship with the FSA along with the FSA's concerns over RBS’s commercial property lending.

Incredibly only 6 members of the FSA were overseeing RBS in August 2007 (when it went ahead with the disastrous "dule diligence light" takeover of ABN Amro).

Lord Turner, chairman of the FSA, attempts to explain why, despite these failings, “no-one has been punished” for this failure of governance and oversight:
 
The fact that no individual has been found legally responsible for the failure begs the question: if action cannot be taken under existing rules, should not the rules be changed for the future.”

Blaming the "rules" is not sufficient excuse for inaction, given that the governance of RBS clearly failed on a spectacular level and that the oversight of RBS by the FSA was woefully inadequate.

Why is the FSA still in existence?

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