RBS Applies for Williams & Glyn Banking License: Compliance

  • Ex-Deutsche Bank trader says FCA shames without names
  • Media-savvy hipster activist is SEC head White's nemesis

Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc said it applied for a banking license for its Williams & Glyn Ltd. unit ahead of an initial public offering of the consumer lender next year.

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The application, running to about 16,000 pages detailing its business strategy, risk and governance framework, was submitted to the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority on Sept. 30, Edinburgh-based RBS said in a statement on Thursday. 

The bank plans to open Williams & Glyn next year and hold an IPO in the fourth quarter. RBS’s goal is to sell the branches completely by the end of 2017 to meet European Union state aid rules related to its 45.5 billion-pound ($69 billion) bailout.

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Courts

Ex-Deutsche Bank Trader Bittar Says FCA Shames Without Names

The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority has an approach of “shaming but not naming” traders in penalty notices against banks, denying them the opportunity to rebut allegations about their behavior, a lawyer for an ex-Deutsche Bank AG trader told a London court.

Christian Bittar, a former high-profile banker at the German lender, said the FCA failed to properly hide his identity in a multimillion-pound settlement with Deutsche Bank over the Libor-rigging scandal.

Deutsche Bank was fined a record $2.5 billion in April by global regulators for manipulating the London interbank offered rate and related interest-rate benchmarks. As part of the settlement, the FCA published a document outlining the wrongdoing, including specific examples of misbehavior by traders and managers, using monikers such as manager A.

Bittar claims he could be identified in the notice, in which the agency made “very severe and very detailed” criticisms of him. The FCA denies readers of the settlement would know the identity of manager B, Paul Stanley, an FCA lawyer, said.

The FCA, which must give people a chance to respond to allegations before publication if they are identifiable, is facing a host of similar claims.

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VW Deals With More European Lawsuits From Emission Cheating

Volkswagen AG is facing a new round of legal challenges after admitting it cheated on emissions tests for years, with French, German and Swiss lawyers taking action against Europe’s biggest carmaker.

The Paris prosecutor opened a probe into VW for deceit and putting people’s health at risk. A German law firm, Tilp, filed a lawsuit with local authorities that will seek compensation for VW shareholders for the stock price drop since Sept. 20. A Swiss lawyer, Jacques Roulet, filed a criminal complaint alleging fraud against the carmaker as the country prepared to ban 130,000 vehicles on Oct. 5.

VW is grappling with a growing number of probes and claims worldwide. Lawyers in the U.S. have filed more than 190 lawsuits with claims for billions of dollars.

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Interviews/Commentary

Kurt Walters, a 26-year-old with a hipster beard, is helping lead a grassroots assault on Wall Street’s top regulator.

Though he may not know the intricacies of the securities laws, Walters, the campaign manager of a group called Rootstrikers, has some tools that polished bank lobbyists lack. They include an e-mail list numbering in the millions, social-media savvy and a willingness to publicly shame the head of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Driving Walters and his counterparts at other progressive groups is outrage over what they believe to be excessive coziness between the SEC and the companies it polices. Using blast e-mails, caustic websites, tweets and even a bit of street theater, the organizations have enticed 1,500 people to call the White House demanding that SEC Chair Mary Jo White be replaced.

“This is how ordinary people are able to be a counterweight to concentrated power,” Walters said.

While the activists have few concrete policy goals, the outcry did prompt the agency to approve a long-delayed rule on executive pay and scuttled one of White’s preferred picks to be a Democratic commissioner.

A spokeswoman for White declined to comment. Her supporters say she has accomplished a great deal and attribute some of the criticism to political pressure from an emboldened anti-Wall Street wing of the Democratic party.

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