NatWest boss Alison Rose resigns over Nigel Farage Coutts account row

NatWest boss Alison Rose resigns over Nigel Farage Coutts account row

Dame Alison Rose, the chief government of NatWest Group, has stood down after a row over the closure of Nigel Farage’s checking account with the personal financial institution Coutts, which NatWest owns.

Rose has resigned from the banking group after the previous UK Independence celebration chief complained to the BBC a couple of report that claimed his accounts with Coutts have been closed for industrial causes. The broadcaster has since apologised and amended its story.

Farage mentioned Rose’s exit was “a begin” however known as for the entire Natwest board to go. He informed GB Information that the resignation “needed to occur”, including: “The primary rule of banking is it’s important to respect the privateness of the shopper.”

The Metropolis minister Andrew Griffith tweeted: “It’s proper that the NatWest CEO has resigned. This might by no means have occurred if NatWest had not taken it upon itself to withdraw a checking account as a consequence of somebody’s lawful political opinions. That was and is all the time unacceptable.

“I hope the entire monetary sector learns from this incident. Its function is to serve prospects properly and pretty – to not inform them how or what to assume.”

In a press release launched within the early hours of Wednesday, the NatWest Group chairman, Sir Howard Davies, mentioned: “The board and Alison Rose have agreed, by mutual consent, that she’s going to step down as CEO of the NatWest Group. It’s a unhappy second.”

In her personal assertion, Rose thanked her colleagues “for all that they’ve accomplished”, including: “I stay immensely happy with the progress the financial institution has made in supporting folks, households and enterprise throughout the UK, and constructing the foundations for sustainable development.”

Having introduced after markets closed on Tuesday that Rose was set to remain on the financial institution, her resignation was then confirmed simply earlier than 2am on Wednesday morning.

Her departure adopted a media storm wherein a number of newspapers had known as for her to give up. Stories late on Tuesday citing sources near No 10 and the chancellor claimed there have been “important considerations” about her staying in her function. By 11pm, shortly after entrance pages have been revealed, the board of NatWest have been locked in emergency talks over her future.

Rose had admitted earlier on Tuesday that she was the supply of a controversial BBC story about Farage’s financial institution accounts, and for which she issued a grovelling apology.

Business issues – falling beneath a wealth threshold – have been one purpose why his accounts could possibly be closed, mentioned a file obtained by Farage utilizing a topic entry request.

Nevertheless, the paperwork additionally confirmed that media protection of Farage’s political opinions was weighed up whereas discussing whether or not to retain him as a shopper.

The previous Ukip chief had claimed that his checking account was closed on the premise of “blatant company prejudice” or due to guidelines about monetary companies for being a so-called politically uncovered individual: somebody with political connections that might make them extra liable to receiving corrupt or unlawful funds.

He mentioned “I can’t get a checking account” in a video on 29 June. Nevertheless, it’s unclear when he was provided an alternate of accounts with Coutts’ sister lender, the excessive avenue financial institution NatWest.

In a letter of apology to Farage despatched final week, Rose mentioned the financial institution would “reiterate” its supply for “different banking preparations” at NatWest, however that it was sorry for “deeply inappropriate feedback” in regards to the political campaigner.

Davies mentioned earlier on Tuesday that the board was giving its full backing to its 53-year-old chief government, who has spent her profession on the lender, and retained the board’s “full confidence”.

Farage mentioned on Wednesday: “Anyone on that board that backed that assertion that was put out at 17.42 yesterday, a completely unsustainable and unfaithful assertion, anyone that backed that behaviour, needs to be gone.”

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He called for “cultural change” at NatWest and in the wider industry, adding: I think there is a massive anti-Brexit prejudice and I think the whole thing needs to change.

“I think the politically exposed person rules need to be completely re-interpreted and I think we have to look at all the anti-money laundering laws.”

Rose said in her own statement on Tuesday, prior to resigning, that she made a “serious error of judgment” during a conversation with Simon Jack, the BBC News business editor, in which she confirmed that the bank had taken a “commercial decision” in shutting Farage’s Coutts account and offering him a NatWest account. It was subsequently reported by the BBC that Farage had been expelled from the bank because its customers were required to hold £3m in savings, or borrow or invest £1m.

Rose said that in speaking to the reporter, “I repeated what Mr Farage had already stated, that the bank saw this as a commercial decision. I would like to emphasise that in responding to Mr Jack’s questions I did not reveal any personal financial information about Mr Farage.”

She added: “Put simply, I was wrong to respond to any question raised by the BBC about this case. I want to extend my sincere apologies to Mr Farage for the personal hurt this has caused him and I have written to him today.”

Farage said prior to Rose’s resignation: “Alison Rose has now admitted that she is the source. She broke client confidentiality, and is unfit to be CEO of NatWest Group. Meanwhile, Coutts’ CEO, Peter Flavel, must take the ultimate responsibility for debanking me based on my political views. Sir Howard Davies is responsible for overall governance. He has clearly failed in this task, least of all by endorsing their conduct. In my view they should all go.”

NatWest’s board of directors said Paul Thwaite, the chief executive for commercial and institutional business, would take over Rose’s responsibilities for an initial period of 12 months, pending regulatory approval. The board said in a statement that appointment of a permanent successor would take place “in due course”.

Rose became the bank’s first female chief executive in late 2019, when it was known as Royal Bank of Scotland Group. The bank, which was bailed out by taxpayers during the 2008 financial crisis, is still 38.6% owned by the UK government.

Davies said the board considered the overall handling of Farage’s accounts had been “unsatisfactory” and led to “serious consequences for the bank”. He confirmed that the board would launch an independent review that would look into the closure and lessons that could be learned.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said it welcomed NatWest’s independent review, which it had pressed for when it contacted the group in the wake of Farage’s allegations.

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