David Prosser: What we need to know now about Lord Turner's embarrassing U-turn


Outlook So watch them squirm. The Financial Services Authority's most senior executives have spent the best part of a fortnightdefending theirdecisions not to take action against the Royal Bank of Scotland executives who led the bank to the brink of collapse and not to publish the report on the episode that led them to that conclusion. Yesterday, Lord Turner, the FSA's chairman, found himself unable to hold the party line any longer. Assuming that RBS can be persuaded to play ball, he promised that an edited account of the affair would be published before March.

We got there in the end. Still, the volte-face prompts a string of questions. Most obviously, why has it taken so long for the FSA to find a way round the legal impasse it has always claimed prevents publication of the RBS report? In the run-up to the announcement that it was taking no action against Sir Fred Goodwin and co, the regulator must have anticipated a fairly keen interest in the detail of its inquiries.

Second, Lord Turner now seems to be suggesting that the law would have allowed the publication of the RBS report if the bank had given its permission. RBS itself denies refusing this permission, which requires investigation. But even if Lord Turner is right, this is a bank that is 84 per cent owned by the taxpayer – that stake is managed at arm's length by UK Financial Investments, but it surely could have brought pressure to bear on RBS executives. Especially as while the account of RBS's failings during the takeover of ABN Amro and afterwards no doubt makes for embarrassing reading, those responsible for a series of disastrous misjudgements are no longer employed at the bank.

Finally, is it in the public interest for the FSA to publish only an abridged version of its report into the collapse of RBS? Having spent so many billions bailing out this bank, taxpayers surely deserve to see the complete version. Lord Turner himself appears to acknowledge that case by calling for a change in the law to exempt state-rescued banks from theconfidentiality requirement behind which the RBS report has been stuck (a reform that should now be put on the statute book as soon as possible).

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Software Development Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links