TTF Blog: 20 April 2021

The legacy of the credit crunch - debt as a weapon

Mark Wright, challenging BoE governor Andrew Bailey

by Alex Varley-Winter, TTF’s Head of Media Relations & Investigative Reporting

As the Covid-19 crisis continues to rack up the world’s debt month on month, it may surprise you how many British borrowers are still grappling with loans that are more than a decade old.

Scandals that laced the U.K.’s ‘economic recovery’ after the crash of ’08, have still not been addressed. Victims are still living with the impact of homelessness, family breakdown, and most harrowingly an unquantified number of suicides.

The Royal Bank of Scotland’s GRG scandal and the plight of mortgage prisoners epitomise this toxic legacy of the crash in the U.K. – when banks and private equity funds turned on borrowers.

Mortgages and loan books from the crash are still being traded

When Northern Rock crashed, a little-known U.K. Treasury bank called UK Asset Resolution stepped in to ‘rescue’ mortgagees. Any impression of chivalry in this act was short-lived, however. UKAR then kept these borrowers on 5% interest rates for years, at a time when they could have got much better deals on the private market.

A BBC Panorama investigation excoriated the scandal in 2018 (watch). Andy Verity interviewed mortgage borrowers who remained trapped, unable to sell and with cruel debts. The film also covers the Government’s astonishing sale, in 2016, of 270,000 former Northern Rock mortgages to a vulture fund for £13 billion.

The buyer was Cerberus Capital Management, a Private Equity company that did not even have a lending license in the U.K. One mortgage prisoner told TTF’s Debt Group yesterday what happened next- “you then got sold on and sold on again,” with clear transparency issues to boot, as “you struggle to find out who owns you and how you are bought and sold.”

Many of these mortgagees have remained in that desperate situation for more than a decade. Lord Sharkey pleaded to Parliament for them in 2018:

“UK Asset Resolution said that returning those borrowers to the private sector would mean that they would be offered new deals, extra lending and fixed rates.”

“This was completely untrue. Instead, about 100,000 borrowers were trapped. They continue to pay very high interest and are not allowed by Cerberus to have a fixed-rate mortgage. Many are now in deep financial difficulty.”

Lords last week approved an Amendment to draft law the Financial Services Bill that might lift some of the hardship faced by these borrowers. It’s going back to the Commons – watch this space.

A global trade in debt

These weren’t the only ‘distressed’ assets scooped up by Cerberus. One of the first pieces of research I did for Transparency Task Force covered the ongoing plight of Glasgow businessman John Guidi. His case was discussed in Parliament here. He went on hunger strike against Clydesdale Bank in 2019. Guidi explained to me how National Australia Bank had flogged his allegedly engineered default, including a personal guarantee on his family home, to Cerberus. He has repeatedly decried that a company that is not even a bank is allowed to buy up British borrowers’ distressed assets in this way, with their family homes on the line.

It is no comfort to any of these borrowers that Cerberus Capital Management has a dirty record in its home country of the U.S. It’s been fined for employment violations, fraud, environmental violations and even ‘kickbacks and bribery’. You can check its record on Violation Tracker, which monitors all  fines levied against American corporations, here.

The most destabilising aspect of all this is how many people – who allege they are indebted through no fault of their own – still feel at constant risk of being turfed out of their homes. Adrian Tupper – editor of the ‘Money Questioner’ website commented yesterday to our Debt Group on how astonishing it is in this century, to see housing still being treated as a mere asset to be flogged to the highest bidder. Shouldn’t it be a human right? Sue Lewis, a former member of the FCA’s consumer panel, told us that she is fearful of an even bigger wave of homelessness if this issue is not addressed; the downturn of the Covid-19 pandemic has stoked financial vulnerability.

The asset-stripping of independent businesses

A similar devastation was wrought by RBS’s Global Restructuring Group after the crash. With a supposed rationale to salvage ‘distressed’ businesses, the GRG had a perverse incentive to bust a much wider range of customers, including viable companies, to boost its own profits.

The scandal would be probed in 2016 by Buzzfeed News’s ‘Dash for Cash’ investigation, following on from Ian Fraser’s book Shredded: Inside RBS, the bank that broke Britain. As Fraser told us last week, the GRG’s pillage of borrowers remains in his view the “defining scandal” of RBS. To resolve its liquidity crisis of 2009, the bank had decided to “cannibalise their own customer base  … destroy SMEs and treat them as collateral damage.”

Ex-financial adviser Steve Middleton estimates that 2.9 million individual borrowers passed through the GRG ‘meat grinder’. The bank’s behaviour may have been incentivised by an “insurance scheme built by the government that – in theory – was to support the bank but in reality became a killing ground for SMEs”.

A necessary sacrifice?

Ostensibly, Gordon Brown’s bail-outs in 2009 of £45.5 billion were not enough to secure RBS’ survival. Somehow, the squeeze didn’t hit the pocket of Stephen Hester, then chief executive, who received £15M from 2008 to 2013.

Post-crash, banks removing ‘bad debts’ from their books and ridding themselves of ‘risky lends’ was to be expected. It is important to understand that this was not what the GRG turned out to be doing. Entrepreneur Lawrence Tomlinson penned a report in 2013 for the government that was widely credited with revealing the scandal. He wrote:

“The experiences of many businesses across the country suggests that, at least within RBS, there are circumstances in which the banks are unnecessarily engineering a default to move the business out of local management and into their turnaround divisions, generating revenue through fees, increased margins and devalued assets.”

And:

“The bank extracts maximum revenue from the business, beyond what can be considered reasonable and to such an extent that it is the key contributing factor to the business’ financial deterioration. This is not an open and transparent process, nor is it a proportionate response from the bank. During the process businesses are completely in the dark as to what is happening around them until it is too late. Most worryingly, the businesses affected are often perfectly viable and but for the action of the bank, would have been able to positively contribute to UK growth.”

This activity extended into Ulster Bank, too, alleged by litigants to have contributed to hundreds of Irish suicides in building and agriculture alone. As Claire Leonard from Dublin put it to us: “there were £43 billion of assets liquidated in Ireland, and that out of a population of 5 million.” It took a heavy toll on society.

Chris Gordon, an estate agent from Northern Ireland is attempting to sue in relation to the scandal. He believes that: “everybody in Ulster Bank was [put] in GRG unbeknown to them”. He is also concerned by a seeming lack of transparency about a computer glitch at the bank in 2012: “As the computers went down our parliaments called RBS directors … on the record and asked them what had happened. They stated that they would publish what happened within months. It’s now nine years later and nothing has been published by RBS or Ulster Bank about what happened. The only body that has published anything is the FCA [City watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority].”

BoE Governor Andrew Bailey – dogged by history

Current Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey will continue to be dogged by accusations and legal actions from whistleblowers about his time heading the Financial Conduct Authority – alleging that he failed to do enough on the GRG scandal.

Most concerning are allegations that Bailey may have misrepresented RBS whistleblower Mark Wright to MPs on a Treasury Select Committee inquiry. Bailey claimed to the Committee on 7th February 2018: “we have found it very difficult to actually meet these people”, to discuss what Wright was alleging, that RBS was forging customer signatures, and other issues.

Wright can show that in 2017 he emailed Bailey with the name of an alleged bank signature forgery trainer within the bank. His MP Norman Lamb sought to arrange meetings with Bailey.

It appeared from Lamb’s emails that Bailey indicated that he would engage, but had then cancelled both appointments.

Wright and Steve Middleton did not go away quietly. They are now crowd-funding to try to force disclosure of documents regarding the bank’s actions during the crash. They are seeking that disclosure from the bank, and from the FCA.

Allegations of a ‘conflict of interest’ on the GRG scandal have since emerged against the Governor in the British press.

In 2009, when Bailey was the Bank of England’s chief cashier, Governor Mervyn King presented him to MPs as “The person who has been working most closely with the Treasury on the design” – of the Asset Protection Scheme for RBS assets.

The APS’s annual report and accounts of 2013 make clear that its goal was to return profits to the Treasury: The Government has realised a £5 billion profit for the UK taxpayer.”

To that end, the APS “consented to the overwhelming majority of RBS disposal requests and in some instances encouraged RBS to sell even more exposure of certain assets. The APA sought to reduce risk and maximise value in the APS portfolio. By working closely with RBS senior management and asset managers on debt restructurings and sales of the largest APS assets we materially influenced RBS’ analysis, strategy and management of many of these assets.

Bailey said of the plan in 2009: “The balance that is being struck is the one that has to be struck to get the bank to a position where it is stabilised.” He stressed the need for ‘due diligence’ on the assets.  Was that put in place? It appears to me from a cursory search of Parliament’s website, that Bailey has never been cross-examined on the design of APS, or the extent of his advice on it.

The Bank of England responded this year to concerns raised in the Times‘ about Andrew Bailey’s potential conflict of interest with RBS at a time when he was heading up the City watchdog.

A BoE spokesperson told reporter James Hurley that Bailey “was not a decision maker in respect of any decision by the FCA on whether or not to undertake an enforcement action” against the bank for the scandal. As the paper put it: ‘There is no suggestion he had any involvement in GRG’s tactics or conduct — but he is under pressure to explain why his involvement in the scheme’s design was not disclosed even when he was given ample opportunity to do so.’

What was the Government’s reach on the GRG scandal?

Alexandra Rogers reported on the apparent relationship between Treasury’s Asset Protection Agency and the GRG for City A.M. in 2019:

‘The incentives and bonuses of the GRG’s top bosses were evaluated against performance targets set by the Asset Protection Agency (APA), an arm of the Treasury that was established to run the Asset Protection Scheme (APS) that insured RBS’s toxic loans at the height of the financial crisis’, Rogers wrote.

Former Business Secretary Sir Vince Cable claimed to press at the time: “It’s very clear where RBS got its instructions from. … “It’s shocking because when I was secretary of state I pressed for the pay of RBS executives to be tied to lending to small businesses – the opposite of what GRG was doing.”

Broken families & GRG suicides

The searing anger that GRG victims feel is palpable to this day. Some are still in the clutches of toxic debt. Internal RBS documents came out showing that the bank sent ‘victory emails’ when they seized assets – a fact that unsurprisingly retraumatises victims and reduces them to tears.

Bricklayer Clive May – featured in the Times here – was one of the bank’s business customers targeted. He spoke to TTF last week of how an RBS manager appeared to ‘invent a death’ in his family that hadn’t happened, to serve a profit motive.

From May’s perspective: “There’s an obsession with RBS about death, about end of life for whatever reason  … Me, Neil Mitchell and Bill Esterton appeared on the Victoria Derbyshire show … I started speaking about the the victory emails … I was contacted on on Twitter by a person who said … it still upsets me today. That person said his friend committed suicide at Christmas they left two young … he left two- two young daughters, you know.”

Clive explained, through tears, that he had contacted City watchdog the FCA about that suicide case, and others. It appears to me from a chain of emails that regulators – including even Bailey himself – responded with an undue emotional detachment and possibly even an air of apologism for the banks, in response to May’s cry for help. The trauma to broken families runs beyond the pale.

TTF again write to Boris Johnson

You can watch our Symposium on the RBS scandal on TTF’s YouTube channel TTF TV here. Founder Andy Agathangelou has again written to the Prime Minister about the paper-trails revealed by participants, much of which were distressing.

He writes:

The speakers’ presentations bring these questions to mind:

Are there untenable conflicts of interest at play between the Financial Conduct Authority and The Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest, HSBC and Barclays?

Did the Governor of the Bank of England lie to the Treasury Select Committee when he was the Chief Executive of the Financial Conduct Authority?

How many members of the public have committed suicide following a problem with The Royal Bank of Scotland, NatWest, HSBC, Barclays or any associated bank? And why did they kill themselves?

You can read the letter in full here.

Press Timeline of relevant articles:

 
 
09 Apr 2021PM urged to ‘clean up’ financial services by Amy Austin for FT Adviser
 
 
 
 
20 Mar 2021We need protecting from the crime of the century, by James Coney in the Times
 
20 Mar 2021FCA rejects independent Woodford inquiry by Lucy Burton in the Telegraph
 
15 Mar 2021Andrew Bailey under pressure over link to RBS scandal by Edward Thicknesse in City A.M.
 
12 Mar 2021Beware the City’s push for a new regulatory watchdog by Helen Thomas for the FT
 
 
02 Mar 2021 – MPs question Butler appointment amid FCA failings by Chloe Cheung for FT Adviser
 
27 Feb 2021Neil Woodford’s Gang of Six, by Ali Hussain for the Times
 
 
 
20 Feb 2021£1.5bn Germany property scandal leaves British savers facing financial ruin by Jessica Beard for the Telegraph
 
17 Feb 2021Where next as government bonds lose power of diversification? by Adam Lewis for Portfolio Adviser
 
17 Feb 2021Neil Woodford under fire from Jersey regulator by Lucy Burton for the Telegraph
 
 

06 Feb 2021Fraud victims suffer enough – guarantee will help innocent overcome shame of scamming by Daniel Jones for the Sun

05 Feb 2021Leader: The FCA’s leaders need to step up when things go wrong by Justin Cash for MoneyMarketing

04 Feb 2021Pension scam victims say regulators should have saved them from from losing life savings, by Jessica Beard for the Telegraph

05 Feb 2021 U.S. Consumer watchdog sees surge in Robinhood complaints, some clients claim they can’t leave the app by Kate Rooney & Yasmin Khorram for CNBC

02 Feb 2021SMCR rules come back to bite FCA in mini-bond probe ‘rules around senior managers being held responsible for their actions have come back to bite the regulator’, by Daniela Esnerova for MoneyMarketing

02 Feb 2021Regulation must deliver transparency and protection for Buy Now Pay Later consumers by Alex Marsh for City A.M.

02 Feb 2021 Bank chief Bailey ‘should be censured’ for failings by James Hurley for the Times

02 Feb 2021FCA criticised for trying to omit names from LCF report by Rachel Mortimer for FT Adviser

02 Feb 2021Poll: Should FCA executives bear personal responsibility for the London Capital and Finance fallout? by MoneyMarketing

01 Feb 2021 – Investment funds flouting new transparency rules by Patrick Hosking for the Times

01 Feb 2021MPs launch full inquiry into London Capital & Finance scandal with chairman declaring it will be “thorough and clear” by Jim Armitage for the Evening Standard

30 Jan 2021Analysis: Robinhood and Reddit protected from lawsuits by user agreement, Congress by Tom Hals for Reuters

29 Jan 2021The Financial Services Bill doesn’t provide the tough regulation we need by Professor Prem Sikka for Left Foot Forward

25 Jan 2021FCA urges clients of collapsed British Steel firm to consider claims by Sonia Rach for MoneyMarketing

22 Jan 2021HSBC chiefs to face MPs’ questions over Hong Kong protesters’ frozen accounts by Poppy Wood for City AM

21 Jan 2021MPs call on FCA to ‘hold bad advisers to account’ by Laura Purkess for CityWire

21 Jan 2021FCA told it lacks vision to tackle consumer issues by Amy Austin for FT Adviser

20 Jan 2021 Mortgage Prisoner amendments blocked by Treasury, by Suleman Baig for Quadrin Group

18 Jan 2021Former Hong Kong lawmaker rejects HSBC’s explanation over frozen accounts by Reuters

18 Jan 2021Supreme Court Rejects Appeal to Overturn UK’s First Unexplained Wealth Order by National Law Review

18 Jan 2021British Virgin Islands’ governor launches inquiry into alleged corruption by Patrick Wintour for the Guardian

18 Jan 2021What we learned from a bumper FCA data dump by Justin Cash for MoneyMarketing

18 Jan 2021Wall Street fears bubble from Biden stimulus as retail investing booms by Katherine Greifeld, Claire Ballentine and Vildana Hajric for Independent.ie

17 Jan 2021Bobby Kennedy was right: GDP is a poor measure of a nation’s health by Larry Elliott for the Guardian

15 Jan 2021 –  Mortgage prisoners accuse Treasury of working against them as wider FCA remit blocked by Owain Thomas for Mortgage Solutions

14 Jan 2021MP Vows To Keep Pushing Tougher Economic Crime Law by Richard Crump for Law360

13 Jan 2021Mortgage prisoner finance bill amendments struck down by Gary Adams for Mortgage Strategy

12 Jan  2021 – Hong Kong families with money trapped in closed law firm’s frozen bank accounts turn to government for low-interest loans by for South China Morning Post

12 Jan 2021 – Bitcoin: be prepared to lose all your money, FCA warns consumers by Kalyeena Makortoff  for the Guardian

11 Jan 2021Insolvency firms put under investigation after scandals, by Louisa Clarence-Smith for the Times

07 Jan 2021 Regulators and police say Covid lockdowns have driven up online pension scams and demand regulation of Google, Facebook and others by Jim Armitage for the Evening Standard

06 Jan 2021 Why UK savers could fall through the cracks in Brexit regulation from the FCA by Jim Armitage for the Evening Standard

04 Jan 2021Bank of England fails to publish officials’ expenses by Alex Ralph for the Times

03 Jan 2021Five years on and still no answers over HBOS affair by Jill Treanor and Liam Kelly for Sunday Times

31 Dec 2020So, when WILL we learn truth about bank chiefs? Another year and still no sign of key HBOS probe by Lucy White for the Mail

24 Dec 2020ASIC drops investigation into Westpac, by Investor Daily in Australia

21 Dec 2020Financial Conduct Authority fines just ten wrongdoers this year by Patrick Hosking in the Times

19 Dec 2020 Andrew Bailey could return to face MPs after damning report on London Capital & Finance scandal by Ben Martin & Patrick Hosking for the Times

18 Dec 2020Google urged to vet online financial promotions better by Huw Jones for Reuters

18 Dec 2020Financial Conduct Authority insiders warned of London Capital & Finance-style minibonds in 2013 but nothing was done by Jim Armitage for the Evening Standard

18 Dec 2020Blue Gate escapes $13.5 million Connaught fund fine from FCA by Huw Jones for Reuters

18 Dec 2020Executives at Financial Conduct Authority to lose bonuses over London Capital & Finance scandal by Ben Martin for the Times – Bosses at the Financial Conduct Authority will lose £205,000 in bonuses after the highly critical report on the regulator’s handling of the London Capital & Finance scandal

17 Dec 2020The fallout from the financial regulator’s shocking failure on LC&F is not over yet by Nils Pratley for the Guardian

17 Dec 2020FCA did not ‘effectively supervise’ collapsed mini-bond issuer LCF, says report by Matthew Vincent for the Financial Times  “Members of the Transparency Task Force, a lobby group pushing for regulatory reform, pointed out that in his own representations to the Gloster review, Mr Bailey included a demand “to delete references to ‘responsibility’ resting with specific identified/identifiable individuals”.

17 Dec 2020Former Financial Conduct Authority boss Bailey apologises over handling of mini-bond scandal by Ben Martin for the Times

16 Dec 2020EU cannot be ‘captured’ by City of London, warns financial services chief by Sam Fleming and Jim Brunsden for the Financial Times

16 Dec 2020Treasurer plots ASIC shakeout by John Kehoe for Financial Review

15 Dec 2020How to remake Australia’s lame corporate watchdog by Pamela Hanrahan for Financial Review

08 Dec 2020MPs call for £2.6bn Equitable Life compensation by Adam Williams for the Telegraph

03 Dec 2020HMRC ‘treat the victims of pension scams like criminals’: Taxman has benefited from the ‘proceeds of crime’ MPs are told by Tom Kelly for Daily Mail

25 Nov 2020FSCS seeks extra £92m in interim levy by Daniela Esnerova for MoneyMarketing

25 Nov 2020  – Trump Administration Targets Banks Divesting From Fossil Fuels In New Anti-Climate Rule by Sharon Kelly for DeSmogBlog

23 Nov 2020Bank of England policymaker warns of ‘pandemic hangovers’, as private sector shrinks – as it happened by Graeme Wearden for the Guardian

16 Nov 2020 – Bank of England ‘failing’ on climate change reform by Philip Aldrick for the Times

16 Nov 2020 – Fed moves closer to joining global peers in climate-change fight by Ann Saphir for Reuters

14 Nov 2020Fraudsters will exploit Covid vaccine to con vulnerable, warns National Crime Agency by Charles Hymas for Telegraph

09 Nov 2020Ombudsman inundated with complaints about loans by Katherine Griffiths for the Times

09 Nov 2020Spike in personal pension cases at ombudsman by Rachel Mortimer for FT Adviser

09 Nov 2020 – Regulator: Climate risk ‘looms even larger’ than pandemic by Avery Ellfeldt for ClimateWire (U.S.)

08 Nov 2020How financial services watchdog has reacted to UK consumer worries in Covid by Hilary Osborne for Guardian

08 Nov 2020Five predictions for banking regulation in a Biden presidency by Jon Hill for Law 360

05 Nov 2020Martin Lewis warns of ‘epidemic of scams’ after ICU nurse loses £8,000 by Scott Edwards for Wales Online

05 Nov 2020FCA bans adviser trio jailed for sex offences by Rachel Mortimer for FT Adviser

03 Nov 2020 – ‘We haven’t received a penny’: Business interruption insurance row intensifies as owners fear payout delays, by Elizabeth Anderson for iNews

03 Nov 2020Aviva’s shares fiasco highlights weakness of the city watchdog by Patrick Hosking for the Times

02 Nov 2020Banks have done little to help the country through the pandemic, so why is the government rewarding them? by Simon Youel for the Independent

29 Oct 2020 – Calls to sack Malta financial regulator CEO by Cristian Angeloni for International Adviser

27 Oct 2020U.S. group urges Biden to use financial regulation to control climate change by Valerie Volcovici for Reuters

27 Oct 2020 ‘Impact startups’ continue to raise funding during the pandemic despite difficulties faced by the wider tech startup sector by Sebastian Klovig Skelton for Computer Weekly

26 Oct 2020 – Why there must be thorough probe of claims made by Bank Signature Forgery Campaign – Greg Wright  for the Yorkshire Post

26 Oct 2020 –  Critics demand action over ‘flawed’ British Banking Resolution Service by James Hurley for the Times

24 Oct 2020Banks look to debt collectors to recover bounce back loans by Nicholas Megaw, Stephen Morris and Daniel Thomas for the FT

23 Oct 2020Bank Signature Forgery (film) by Nicholas Wilson for Corruption UK

22 Oct 2020 – UK fraud agency suffers string of senior departures by Kate Beioley for the FT

22 Oct 2020 HSBC froze £1.5bn of customers’ cash in ‘dormant accounts’ – report by Kalyeena Makortoff & Juliette Garside for the Guardian

22 Oct 2020Work harder to find fraud, watchdog tells auditors by James Hurley for the Times

17 Oct 2020 – MPs pursue claims bank signatures were faked on court papers by Rupert Jones for the Guardian

16 Oct 2020 We need universal digital ad transparency now by Laura Edelson, Erika Franklin Fowler and Jason Chuang for TechCrunch

15 Oct 2020 – Rising COVID-19 Rates Send NatWest Misselling Trial To Video by Bonnie Eslinger for Law 360

15 Oct 2020 – MPs Push Agencies to Act on Forged Signature Claims by Law360

13 Oct 2020 –  Mark Carney says banks should link executive pay to Paris climate goals by Kalyeena Makortoff for the Guardian

12 Oct 2020 ‘It is time to reboot the competition regime for the modern, digital age’ by David Wighton, The Times

12 Oct 2020 Gina Miller blasts FCA complaints scheme changes ‘unfair, immoral and illegal’ by Cristian Angeloni for Portfolio Adviser

12 Oct 2020MPs call for input on Pension Schemes Bill by James Phillips for Professional Pensions

10 Oct 2020 Give pension trustees power to fight scammers, say MPs by Kenza Bryan for the Times

08 Oct 2020  – Freedom to transfer pensions should be stripped where scams are suspected, industry experts urge by Jessica Beard for the Telegraph

08 Oct 2020 – Planned pensions shake-up passes first Commons hurdle by Law 360

08 Oct 2020 – WPC chairman says transfer rules ‘must be changed’ by Amy Austin for FT Adviser

07 Oct 2020 – Tech giants share blame for pension scams, MPs told by Law 360

06 Oct 2020 – FCA opens 85 cases over pension scam concerns by Amy Austin for FT Adviser

03 Oct 2020 – Record number of savers fall victim to investment fraud as scam adverts stay on Google by Andrew Ellson for The Times

02 Oct 2020A New Theory of Soil by Alex Varley-Winter for SustainAct

 
 
 
28 Sep 2020 – PM urged to show leadership in fight against scams by Amy Austin for FT Adviser
 
28 Sep 2020The 100 Whistleblowers who changed Wall Street by Stephen M. Kohn and Mary Jane Wilmoth for National Law Review
 
28 Sep 2020TTF calls for govt leadership on pension scams following meeting with PM by Sophie Smith for Pensions Age
 
 
26 Sep 2020 – £60m revamp for Action Fraud hotline that failed victims by Martin Beckford for The Sunday Times
 
25 Sep 2020 – FCA labels Google’s scam advert efforts ‘deeply frustrating’ by Rachel Mortimer for FT Adviser
 
23 Sep 2020 – Bank Forgery Campaign (video) by Andy Verity for BBC
 
 
20 Sep 2020 – Explore the FinCEN Files Data and Suspicious activity reports, explained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ); Fergus Shiel and Ben Hallman
 
21 Sep 2020 Flood of complaints expected over Covid-19 UK business loans, by Kalyeena Makortoff for the Guardian
 
 
 
16 Sep 2020 – Regulators Accused of Ignoring Scam Warnings by Jack Gray for Pensions Age
 
16 Sep 2020Tougher clampdown on pension scams is needed, MPs told by Vicky Shaw for Belfast Telegraph
 
 
11 Sep 2020 – ‘Delay changes to Watchdog Complaints Scheme’ by James Hurley for The Times
 
 
03 Sep 2020Regulators have not yet got to grips with how to close down crooks, warns TTF  by Hope William-Smith for Professional Pensions
 

24 Aug 2020Financial Conduct Authority rushes to minimise compensation for its failings by James Hurley for The Times

04 Aug 2020Have your say: Will the WPC’s inquiry into the impact of pension freedoms be too overshadowed by Covid-19 impacts? by Professional Pensions

03 Aug 2020 – ‘“I’m 39, have lost my job and am in debt – can I unlock my £18k pension?” … DON’T do it!’‘ by Steve Webb for This is Money

01 Aug 2020‘I lost £2.3m after I was conned into transferring my pension’ by Jessica Beard for the Telegraph

31 Jul 2020 ‘Common sense’ prevails as pension freedom withdrawals fall 17% — But drop is expected to be ‘a short-term blip’ by Robbie Lawther for International Adviser

31 Jul 2020HMRC figures show plunging pension freedom withdrawals by Hope William-Smith for Professional Adviser

28 Jul 2020MPs launch inquiry into pension scams  by Tom Kelly for Daily MailUK Pension Scams Under Scrutiny After 2015 Relaxation in Rules by Reuters & MPs launch wide-ranging pension scams probe by Justin Cash for MoneyMarketing

24 Jul 2020 – US business groups seek steps to stamp out online fraud by Leonie Barrie for Just Style

22 Jul 2020Pension scams increase amid lockdown by Sophie Smith for Pensions Age & Missed Opportunity to Use Victims in Scam Work by Amy Austin for FT Adviser

21 Jul 2020  Londongrad Calling: Is Europe’s Laundromat the ‘New Normal’? by Mark Conrad

20 Jul 2020 Campaigners Aim to Create Pension Scam Database by Michael Klimes & Government eyes unauthorised firms by Justin Cash for MoneyMarketing

17 Jul 2020 – Year ‘dominated’ by FCA shortcomings as 205 complaints made,  by Rachel Mortimer for FT Adviser

29 Jun 2020 – MPs Pushed to Launch Pension Scam Inquiry by Amy Austin for FT Adviser & Lawmakers Urged To Open Inquiry Into Pension Scams by Martin Croucher for Law 360

11 Jun 2020 Blackmore minibond investors get just £5m back by Ben Martin for the Times

14 May 2020 – Under Rising Pressure on Climate, JP Morgan Rejects Shareholders’ Calls to Disclose Carbon Footprint by Alex Varley-WInter for DeSmog

11 May 2020 – FCA urged to build public trust in independent reviews by Rachel Mortimer for FT Adviser

30 Apr 2020 – FCA was warned three years ago about mini-bond firm Blackmore Bond, which collapsed with £45m of savers’ money by Ben Chapman for the Independent

15 Apr 2020 – Met police lose two thirds of finance officers as fraud soars by Ben Ellery for the Times

25 Mar 2020 – Care Home Wants NatWest Docs in Misselling Fight by Law360

20 Mar 2020 – Connaught review delayed as Covid-19 concerns loom by Rachel Mortimer in FT Adviser

07 Jan 2020It’s time to keep your pensions promise, Boris! The PM pledged to help these victims of a huge scam FOUR years ago – and they’re still waiting by Tom Kelly for the Daily Mail.

29 Dec 2019‘Lambs to the slaughter – tens of thousands of savers have lost up to £10billion in rogue pensions schemes sanctioned by the government… and now the taxman is threatening VICTIMS with fines’, and ‘Making millions from other people’s misery’: A Government adviser, call centre chief and pension scheme director are among those who stand accused of involvement in pension schemes that exploited loophole in the law by Tom Kelly for the Daily Mail

03 Sep 2019
Chris Gordon Developer who ‘lost £1m’ takes legal action against Ulster Bank – His lawyers allege that he lost a “seven figure sum” after being put into a Global Restructuring Group (GRG) which managed exposures and concerns about an account holder’s ability to service loans. By Alan Erwin for the Belfast Telegraph

30 Aug 2019 – MPs back businessman on hunger strike at Clydesdale Bank by Kalyeena Makortoff for the Guardian

15 Aug 2019Victims hit by Connaught’s collapse blast City watchdog for ‘whitewashing’ independent review by Lucy White for Daily Mail

05 Aug 2019Plunder in paradise: The ‘adviser’ behind a Costa scam that has cost expat pensioners £25MILLION – and led one to attempt suicide by Laura Shannon for Mail on Sunday

05 Jul 2019 Government-owned bank ‘forging signatures’ in repossession cases by Andy Verity for BBC

18 Jun 2019“I came home to find my house had been stolen!” by Angela Ellis-Jones for the Daily Mail

20 Jun 2019 – FCA orders review of its handling of Connaught collapse by Rachel Mortimer for FT Adviser

13 Jun 2019 – Investigation into disgraced RBS small business unit branded a ‘whitewash’ by MPs by Ben Chapman for the Independent

07 Jun 2019Guernsey Stock Exchange disputes FCA account over Woodford by David Thorpe in FT Adviser

29 Mar 2019MPs call for inquiry into alleged forgery of signatures by Andy Verity for BBC

15 Feb 2017 – RBS accused of fraud & forgery by customers and ex-employee by Andrew Hosken for The World Tonight BBC Radio 4

22 Dec 2016Solicitors suspended for roles in collapsed Brazilian investment scheme by Nick Hilborne for Legal Futures

10 Oct 2016 The Dash For Cash: Leaked Files Reveal RBS Systematically Crushed British Businesses For Profit by Heidi Blake, Jane Bradley, Tom Warren & Richard Holmes for Buzzfeed News

23 Sep 2016Which? makes scams super-complaint by Adam French for Which?

08 Aug 2016The Latest Bank Interest Rate Scandal Signals A Crisis Of Australian Democracy by Professor Carl Rhodes for New Matilda