NatWest confirmed ‘critical failings’ in Nigel Farage account closure, probe finds

NatWest showed ‘serious failings’ in Nigel Farage account closure, probe finds


NatWest Group’s choice to close down Nigel Farage’s Coutts account confirmed “critical failings” in its therapy of the politician, an impartial probe has discovered.

Regulation agency Travers Smith was appointed to conduct a evaluate within the wake of the debanking saga, which culminated within the resignation of chief government Dame Alison Rose.

The investigation discovered failures in the way it handled confidential info and the way it communicated with Mr Farage.


Dame Alison made an “sincere mistake” in disclosing particulars of the previous Ukip chief’s checking account to a BBC journalist, the report learn.

“She truthfully, however incorrectly, believed that the shopper had publicly confirmed that he was a buyer of Coutts.”

However the choice to close down Mr Farage’s checking account was lawful, and predominately industrial, it reported.

“Coutts thought of its relationship with Mr Farage to be commercially unviable as a result of it was considerably loss-making,” it mentioned.

Mr Farage mentioned earlier this 12 months that Coutts had moved to close down his account as a result of his political views didn’t align with the financial institution.

Bank account closures
A department of NatWest (Matt Crossick/PA)

The political chief’s public statements on “points such because the surroundings, race, gender and migration” served to be a reputational danger and weren’t thought of to align with the group’s “objective”, Travers Smith mentioned.

Nevertheless it concluded that Mr Farage’s accounts being unprofitable was the precept purpose behind the closure, whereas his political and private views had been supporting elements.

NatWest’s chairman Sir Howard Davies mentioned: “This report units out quite a lot of critical failings within the therapy of Mr Farage.

“Though Travers Smith verify the lawful foundation for the exit choice, the findings set out clear shortcomings in the way it was reached in addition to failures in how we communicated with him and in relation to shopper confidentiality.

“We apologise as soon as once more to Mr Farage for a way he has been handled.

“His expertise fell in need of the requirements that any buyer ought to count on.”


The report is the primary stage of the probe which was commissioned by the NatWest board in July.

The Metropolis regulator, the Monetary Conduct Authority (FCA), mentioned the report “has highlighted potential regulatory breaches and quite a lot of areas for enchancment”.

The FCA mentioned it was trying additional into how account closures and the dealing with of complaints may affect the broader honest therapy of consumers.

Mr Farage criticised the evaluate for having “whitewashed” the financial institution’s choice to shut his accounts.

“Travers Smith has taken a really mealy-mouthed strategy to this complicated difficulty,” he mentioned.

“The regulation agency argues that my political beliefs ‘not aligning with these of the financial institution’ was not in itself a political choice. That is laughable.”

Bank account closures
Former NatWest Group boss Dame Alison Rose made an ‘sincere mistake’ in chatting with a BBC journalist, a probe discovered (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Earlier this week, the knowledge watchdog dominated that Dame Alison infringed on Mr Farage’s information safety rights when she talked to a journalist about his relationship with Coutts.

The Info Commissioner’s Workplace (ICO) mentioned the disclosure had been “unacceptable and mustn’t occur once more”, however that it doesn’t plan on taking any additional regulatory motion over the matter.

The shape chief government resigned in July after admitting to a “critical error of judgment” in discussing Mr Farage’s Coutts account, however maintained that she didn’t share any private monetary info.

Dame Alison mentioned the findings verify “every thing I informed the board in July was appropriate”.

She mentioned: “Each Travers Smith and the ICO have concluded that I inadvertently confirmed what had already been extensively reported, that Mr Farage held an account at Coutts.

“The ICO additionally concluded the ‘affect round this particular disclosure was minimal’.

“Travers Smith is obvious that ‘there was no leak of particular detailed monetary info’.

“Travers Smith additionally confirmed I knew nothing in regards to the feedback made by Coutts employees about Mr Farage, which had been deeply disagreeable and unfair.”

Mr Farage unearthed feedback from inside messages between employees on the financial institution which urged they’d “pushed him in a foreign country” over his account closure.

He mentioned he obtained paperwork of the remarks by way of a topic entry request to the financial institution for all the knowledge it holds on him.