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A review by Britain’s chief financial regulator found no evidence that politicians were denied bank accounts because of their views, according to people familiar with the findings.

The Financial Conduct Authority launched an investigation in August, weeks after former Ukip leader Nigel Farage sparked a debate over free speech with claims he was involved in private bank Coutts (Coutts)’s account is about to be closed because his views are “inconsistent” with the lender’s.

The debate over Farage’s “de-banking” sparked complaints from other politicians about the banks’ treatment of them, prompting the government to order a review by the FCA.

People familiar with the matter said that the FCA will release the results of the investigation in the next few days, showing that among the 34 banks and payment companies required to submit information to the regulator, there was no case where political views were the “main reason” for closing personal accounts. FCA declined to comment.

The data reviewed by the FCA covers the period from June 2022 to June 2023.

Farage publicly revealed in late June that his bank account was about to be closed by an unnamed “reputable” financial institution, which was later confirmed to be Coutts.

But his account at Coutts remained active at the end of July, when he said the bank had supply Let him stay.

Nigel Farage
Nigel Farage in July published excerpts from a dossier compiled on him by Coutts, in which the bank said continuing to provide services to him was “incompatible with Coutts” ©Tolga Ackerman/AFP/Getty Images

Two people familiar with its work said the FCA knew the data used in its review was compiled quickly and that not all banks had good systems in place to monitor and record why accounts were closed or declined.

The regulator will carry out further work to ensure banks and payments companies are not unfairly denied access to services, they added.

The Financial Conduct Authority’s failure to find data showing widespread “de-banking” of people because of their political views has left Whitehall uneasy.

One government insider said “regulators have been quite slow to react on this issue”, adding that the data collected by the FCA “may lack granularity”.

Farage in July published excerpts from a dossier compiled by Coutts on him as the bank was considering closing his account, in which the bank said continuing to service him would be “incompatible with Coutts.” content” because his views were “inconsistent with our position as a bank”. An inclusive organization.”

The row led to the departure of Alison Rose, chief executive of NatWest, the bank’s parent company, after she admitted sharing confidential information about her accounts with a reporter.

A cross-party group of politicians, led by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, condemned the apparent practice of banks closing people’s accounts because of their political views.

“People need to be able to legally hold views that we may disagree with, but they should not be denied financial services because of that,” Sunak said last month.

The FCA is conducting a separate review of financial services firms’ treatment of so-called politically exposed persons, which includes politicians and civil servants. The work will be completed next year.


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