FCA: Je ne regrette rien?


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Financial Conduct Authority lady sings the blues as RBS's GRG reality revealed.

Cher belting out If I Could Turn Back Time in Las Vegas last year

Many small businesses that borrowed from RBS before the financial crisis may have some regrets about that decision.

However, not as many, it would seem, as the UK’s FCA has over commissioning a report into what exactly was going on at the UK bank’s global restructuring group (GRG) when their loans turned sour.

The 361-page report, written by consultants Promontory Financial Group and commissioned by the FCA, looked into RBS’s mistreatment of many small and medium-sized enterprises that had the misfortune to fall into the hands of the GRG in the recession that followed the 2008 financial crisis.

The FCA was forced earlier this year to publish the report, which revealed in lurid and highly unflattering detail the approach taken by the GRG to customer care at that time.

As the bank’s regulator, the FCA (previously the Financial Services Authority) didn’t exactly come away smelling of roses either.

Cher classic

As part of the judicial review of the winding up of the GRG, it has emerged that Simone Ferreira, the FCA’s then head of the event supervision department – which dealt with the GRG – made her feelings over the situation clear at a 2016 meeting with RBS employees, where she sang the Cher classic If I Could Turn Back Time to the assembled RBS bankers.

Ferreira acted as a liaison between RBS, the FCA and Promontory.

The song includes the key phrases “if I could find a way, I’d take back those words that hurt you” and “I don’t know why I did the things I did, I don’t know why I said the things I said”.

In an email this October, her boss, Andrew Bailey said it was a “light-hearted moment and reflected the mood of the room”, but denied it referred to regret at having commissioned the report.

Perhaps other employees at the FCA’s shiny new Stratford offices might be humming other hits from Cher’s substantial back catalogue as they go about their business. Maybe the 1971 hit A Cowboy’s Work is Never Done?