Leader comment: Day of reckoning for RBS

It has been almost ten years since the UK government bailed out the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). Now, finally, investors who watched their shares collapse in value are closer to finding out the truth behind the fiasco.

Former RBS executive, Fred Goodwin. Picture: PA
Former RBS executive, Fred Goodwin. Picture: PA

The Royal Bank of Scotland is an important Scottish company. And the current management, who were not involved at the time, are trying to put this catastrophic period behind them and emphasise the firm’s community roots.

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But the 14-week, £700 million trial brought against the lender by 9,000 retail investors and 18 institutions, is an essential part of this process. The case centres on whether bosses knew of RBS’s fragile state before it raised £12 billion from shareholders. Months later, RBS shares fell by 90 per cent.

When Fred Goodwin, who was stripped of his knighthood in 2012, appears at the High Court on 8 June, it will be the first time he has been forced to publicly account for his and the bank’s actions. Thousands of investors have been waiting for this day for years. To move on properly, sometimes we need to look back and learn. Perhaps then we can once again be proud of RBS.