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Why Did Royal Bank of Scotland Fail? The FSA Speaks

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sarah Jane Leake | Bloomberg LawThe failure of the Royal Bank of Scotland – Financial Services Authority Board Report, 13 December 2011 After an investigation that has spanned some 33 months, the UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) has published its much anticipated report on the failure of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). The FSA attributes RBS' failure to a wide array of factors, including over-reliance on short-term wholesale funding. Not surprisingly, deficiencies in RBS' management, governance, and culture are also cast as having played a significant contributory factor in causing the bank's collapse. Moreover, the FSA admits that flaws in its own supervisory approach provided insufficient challenge to RBS, and, indirectly, facilitated poor decision-making at the bank. The detail of the report seeks to underpin and explain the FSA's rationale for deciding last year1 that there were no grounds for pursuing enforcement action against the bank or its former top executives with a reasonable chance of success.

The Collapse

In October 2008, at the height of the financial crisis, RBS failed and became part-nationalised. From 7 October, it became reliant on the Bank of England Emergency Liquidity Assistance for funding and, six days later, the Government announced it would inject up to

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