Defeat of MPs '˜setback' for companies pursuing RBS

The co-founder of a joint venture set up to support those seeking compensation from a controversial division of Royal Bank of Scotland believes the loss of two 'influential' Scottish MPs is a hurdle for firms looking for redress from the lender.

RBS said it did not 'artificially engineer' the transfer of any customer to its GRG unit. Picture: John Devlin

Edinburgh-based MBM Veritas, which is focusing on RBS’ Global Restructuring Group (GRG), noted the loss of the members of the UK’s all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on fair business banking.

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MBM Veritas said the APPG, a cross-party interest group, no longer includes chairman George Kerevan, the former MP for East Lothian, and vice chair Calum Kerr, former MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, with both losing their seats in last week’s general election.

'It is imperative that momentum is not lost,' said MBM Commercial litigation lawyer Cat MacLean. Picture: Neil Hanna

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The outfit said this means the APPG “will need time for new members to be brought up to speed”, adding that Kerevan also sat on the Treasury select committee as the only Scottish member.

Andrew Mackenzie, joint MD of MBM Veritas, said: “With pending discussions over Brexit and the uncertainty about the hung parliament, it will take time for the APPG to get going again. For many businesses, each extra month is a terrible strain.”

'It is imperative that momentum is not lost,' said MBM Commercial litigation lawyer Cat MacLean. Picture: Neil Hanna

MBM Veritas said it has also been asking the APPG “to press RBS to make it easier for directors who have lost their businesses to be included in the review”.

It added: “In some cases, businesses had been forced into liquidation by the bank’s GRG activities. However, under the current terms of the RBS review, all correspondence will be sent to the administrator/liquidator rather than the former directors. Consequently the people most affected could be unaware the review is taking place.”

Cat MacLean, the litigation lawyer from MBM Commercial who incorporated MBM Veritas with former bankers Mackenzie and Scott Cowan, said: “There is no doubt that some valuable work was undertaken by George Kerevan and Calum Kerr in the APPG on behalf of many Scottish businesses damaged by RBS. It is imperative that this momentum is not lost.”

MBM Veritas, set up late last year, said it understands that to date only 653 eligible customers have made a complaint and so “there are potentially hundreds of companies who may still be unaware that there is even a complaints scheme in existence”.

An RBS spokesman said: “As confirmed by the FCA’s update, no evidence has been found that the bank artificially engineered the transfer of any customer to GRG. All SME customers transferred to GRG were exhibiting clear signs of financial difficulty and, in a significant majority of cases, it is likely the bank’s actions did not cause any material financial distress to our customers.”