- written by Michael Race
- Business Reporter, BBC News
27 October 2023, 07:36 BSTThank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
Updated 58 minutes ago
Image source, Getty Images
An impartial evaluation found that NatWest committed “major shortcomings” in its handling of Nigel Farage after it terminated his Coutts Bank account.
The study revealed that the bank’s protocols were not adhered to regarding the closure of the former UKIP leader.
Nevertheless, the analysis recognized the legality of the closure, which was primarily based on business justifications.
Mr. Faraz declared the report a “cover-up,” criticizing certain conclusions as “absurd.”
He accused the legal firm Travers Smith, which conducted the inquiry, of displaying “indifference” towards this intricate matter.
Mr. Farage, a prominent advocate for Brexit, earlier this year stated that Coutts, the exclusive private bank for the wealthy and owned by NatWest, intended to close his account without providing a reason.
However, the politician later received a report from the bank indicating that his political opinions were also taken into account.
As a result, Dame Alison Rose, NatWest’s CEO, resigned after acknowledging her mistake in publicly discussing Mr. Farage’s association with the bank.
Travers Smith discovered that the decision to close Mr. Faraz’s Coutts account was “primarily a business determination” and stated that the bank “deemed its commercial relationship with Mr. Faraz unfeasible due to substantial losses.”
The study concluded that Mr. Farage’s public statements on topics such as the environment, race, gender, and migration carried more weight than other considerations, including Coutts’ reputation among clients, employees, and investors.
Travers Smith clarified that these public views did not serve as the decisive factor in closing his Coutts account, but they “supported the decision.”
The assessment concluded that Coutts “possessed the contractual authority” to close Mr. Farage’s account, and the decision was made in alignment with policies, although the manner in which he was informed did not offer a “sufficient explanation.”
NatWest expressed regret for its “unacceptable shortcomings.”
Sir Howard Davies, chairman of NatWest Group, acknowledged that while the investigation “affirmed the legitimate basis for the account termination, the findings revealed clear deficiencies in the decision-making process, as well as our communication with and protection of customer privacy.” They also declared failures in relation to…
Moreover, they stated, “We once again apologize to Mr. Faraz for the manner in which he was treated. His experience fell short of the expectations any customer should have.”