GRG Review: RBS appoint Mark Spurin to minimise compensation payouts to SME victims

Harry Wilson, City Editor of the Times newspaper has today reported that Mark Spurin will take charge of the RBS GRG Review compensation scheme for ‘impacted SMEs’.  It is vital that those affected by GRG misconduct take urgent legal advice to ensure they get compensation.

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What is GRG?

NatWest and RBS’s Global Restructuring Group, was a business support unit (BSU) for troubled businesses set up in the early nineties by Derek Sach and was formerly known as Specialised Lending Services.  Following the credit crunch, GRG took control of 16,000 SME customers with £65 billion of assets via ‘Project Dash for Cash’. Following allegations of misfeasance, GRG was reportedly disbanded in August 2014. Distressed customer relationships are now handled by the Restructuring Group.

GRG Review: Who is Mark Spurin?

Spurin describes himself on his LinkedIn profile as a ‘professional banker’ which he certainly is.

He served at Barclays for 31 years and is now a Managing Director of the Royal Bank of Scotland in charge of its derivatives mis-selling IRHP Review scheme for the last 4 years; a scheme in which the wrongdoing bank determined itself whether it did anything wrong and if so how much compensation to pay out.

Not surprisingly the Bank found many ways to avoid redress and strong legal representation was necessary for customers to secure proper redress.

RBS GRG Review Compensation Avoidance Strategies

The appointment of Spurin has brought severe criticism from many quarters such as the Bully-Banks and SME Alliance lobby groups given the clear redress avoidance strategies evident in the Spurin-controlled RBS swaps mis-selling review even though the FCA were supposed to be monitoring RBS conduct of the review scheme.

It is predicted that the bank will seek to avoid and limit any compensation they are forced to pay to stakeholders of their former customers who suffered a loss at the hands of GRG and its associated Westregister companies.

Certainly Spurin and the RBS IRHP review team have a past record of reducing or eliminating the cost of redress by avoiding making compensation payments unless forced as commented on by Guto Bebb MP.

GRG Solicitors: Litigation and Legal Advice

In the IRHP Review scheme, RBS told customers they did not need legal representation however they failed to inform customers that RBS was legally represented to the hilt not only with an army of in-house lawyers and external city lawyers but also with a team of ten lawyers hired to work directly within the Project Rosetta review itself.

Already, RBS and NatWest have instructed a large number of GRG solicitors to assist them as professional advisers in relation to the GRG Review: Clifford Chance solicitors, CMS Cameron McKenna solicitors, international firm 大成 Dentons solicitors and big four accountancy firm, PwC.

SMEs and relevant stakeholders (eg Directors and shareholders) that have suffered because of RBS and NatWest’s GRG recovery practices should take urgent legal advice on the GRG Review scheme. If SMEs fail to take legal advice they may find their legal rights have expired by virtue of the Limitation Act.

We have issued more litigation against RBS in respect of it’s past reviewed misconduct than any other law firm in the UK. Our specialist banking lawyers accept instructions to manage both (i) the RBS GRG review scheme that the bank has ‘voluntarily’ agreed to conduct with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and (ii) litigation in the High Court. All GRG victims should note that that their legal rights will expire (to the satisfaction of RBS) unless legal action is taken to preserve these legal rights.


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Times: ‘Rosetta executive to review RBS interest rate hedging claims’ by Harry Wilson, City Editor, May 2 2016

‘Rosetta head to lead RBS GRG compensation claims’

Harry Wilson, City Editor, May 2 2016, 1:01am, The Times

Royal Bank of Scotland has put the manager responsible for a controversial mis-selling redress scheme in charge of a programme to look at victims of its global restructuring division.

Mark Spurin is the former head of Project Rosetta, which dealt with thousands of complaints and compensation claims from customers over the sale of interest rate hedging products.

He is now leading an internal team in preparation for the findings of a review into the global restructuring group. It could force the bank to pay hundreds of millions of pounds to businesses damaged by the turnaround unit.

The appointment of Mr Spurin to the sensitive role could raise questions, given complaints about RBS’s handling of the previous scheme.

Rosetta has been criticised by victims and politicians for failing to properly compensate individuals and businesses who had their livelihoods destroyed by the mis-selling of complex interest rate derivatives.

Mr Spurin was in charge of Project Rosetta until late last year. While many banks have been criticised about their own schemes, RBS has faced more questions than others as it was the largest seller of interest rate hedging products to small and medium-sized businesses.

The bank has been accused of trying to minimise the amount of compensation paid, according to whistleblowers who have worked on the programme, leading to fears that Mr Spurin’s involvement in any global restructuring group scheme could leave victims hoping for large remediation cheques unsatisfied.

A copy of a report by Promontory and Mazars, the consultancies appointed to carry out the review into the global restructuring group, was handed to the Financial Conduct Authority last month. The regulator will decide what action should be taken over the scandal.

The FCA is looking at allegations that RBS sought to profit by putting viable companies out of business, as well as claims that customers were hit with charges that scuppered attempts to turn around their performance.

Giving evidence to MPs on the Treasury select committee last month, Tracey McDermott, acting chief executive of the FCA, confirmed that the regulator was in “the latter stages” of its work.

A spokesman for RBS said: “We continue to work with the FCA on this review and will respond when the conclusions have been reached”.