19th September 2023 – (London) The U.K. conducted a review in response to the controversial termination of banking facilities for Nigel Farage and concluded that there was no evidence of “political” account closures, according to initial findings by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) between July 2022 and June 2023.
While the FCA acknowledged the need for further investigation due to limited information, Farage expressed anger, calling it a “total whitewash” and criticizing the FCA for being “overtly political.”
The investigation was launched after Coutts, the private banking division of NatWest, severed ties with Farage, the former leader of the Brexit Party and UKIP, citing “reputational risk” in an internal document.
NatWest’s then-CEO Alison Rose resigned following revelations of her conversation with a BBC journalist regarding the Farage case, admitting it was a “serious error of judgement” and ending her three-decade-long career at the bank. Additionally, Peter Flavel, CEO of Coutts, resigned amid the controversy.
The FCA stated the need for further collaboration with banks to verify data and gain a deeper understanding of the reasons behind account closures related to reputational risk.
FCA CEO Nikhil Rathi emphasised the importance of balancing access to bank accounts with the threat of financial crime, as well as considering reasonable risk and commercial appetites. He also raised the question of whether all individuals, businesses, and organizations should have the right to a bank account, as seen in some other countries.