Royal Bank of Scotland Plc (“RBS”) Global Restructuring Group (“GRG”) Complaints’ Process

April 26, 2017

Most, if not all, of SMEs have now received either their final offer or the cash for the automatic refund scheme.  The entire scheme was automated and the input of bank customers and their advisors was not allowed.

The stage for most GRG cases is to make a complaint to RBS under the terms of their GRG Complaints’ Process.  Unfortunately, some GRG customers are looking at doing this themselves.  History has proven that saving money on lawyers’ fees can be a very bad deal if there is, as there are in most GRG cases, only one option to follow.  If your complaint does not provide a fully argued legal case and instead deals with emotion and non-legal issues, a complaint can result in a rejection from the bank with no further avenues available.  We hope this article sets out why using an experienced solicitor to draft the argument is worth the ultimate fee.

The GRG complaints’ process is different to the automated fee process.  This is a system in which RBS has set up a scheme that will be inherently biased towards the bank.  Bank lending and most of the activities within GRG are not regulated in law, hence why the Financial Conduct Authority could not do as much as it hoped to do.  The Bank holds all of the cards.

The GRG complaints’ process requires the customer to put in a complaint and the bank will make a decision based upon that complaint.  At Muldoon Britton we know from the IRHP scheme (for interest rate swaps) that many SMEs seek to save money and do these complaints themselves.  It can produce some very unhappy outcomes.  That is because most SMEs (logically) do not know the law and put their complaint in based upon what they think makes a good claim.  For example, in the IRHP process many businesses put forward their complaint based upon “mis-selling” of the IRHP.  There is no such thing as “mis-selling” in English or Scottish law for the sale of products by a bank to an SME.  They then lost their cases and appealed it themselves, based upon what they thought “mis-selling” is.  Only then, when all appeal avenues were used up, did they approach a solicitor.  It was heart breaking to have to explain to people that they had exhausted all avenues and they were time barred, so could not complain any further – their claims ended.  Or, where FOS was an option, that their potential outcome had been reduced to £150,000, being the FOS limit.  In many of those cases we know we would have achieved a positive outcome had we been instructed from the start.

I recently wrote an article about this:

So, you are now faced with the GRG complaints’ process.  At the end of that complaints’ process you may have the opportunity of a Financial Ombudsman appeal.  If FOS is out, then you will only really have the one shot at making the complaint to RBS.  There will be an appeal allowed – but it is far better to have a proper detailed complaint to begin with than to introduce it on appeal.

Some cases may now have also missed the six year period for issuing a claim in Court.  The six years generally starts from when you were moved to GRG, though every case will turn on its own facts, so it is important to speak to a solicitor.

As noted above, bank lending and turn-around activities are not regulated.  As such, complaints about GRG have to phrased just right.  A complaint that GRG was unfair does not take your complaint forward because the bank has to balance its need to be fair to customers (Principles For Business) with its duty to reduce risk through insolvent customers.  That is why it thought it could get away with what it did in GRG, it would simply say that whilst it needed to be fair to customers, its risk factors on insolvent customers has a priority post 2008.

The new lending and the new hedging offered by GRG were all usually stacked in favour of the bank.  Again, how the new lending & hedging offered by GRG is set out in a complaint to GRG is important.  Saying it was unfair simply does not get you any further forward in the GRG complaints’ process.

At Muldoon Britton we can assist you with your complaint to GRG.

Muldoon Britton is happy to work on a no win no fee basis, though we may need to charge a fee to review the case and determine whether it has suitable grounds and is likely to succeed.  As we only get paid in the event you win, we may need to verify how successful the case is likely to be.  We would also be happy to include a very straightforward confirmation that the fee if you succeed is not connected to or associated with any monies you recover under the automatic fee scheme.  It is our understanding that many people have been unwilling to instruct on a no win no fee basis in case the fee encapsulates the automatic fees – that would be unfair and we will be very clear that any monies under that part of the RBS scheme is not included in any fee arrangement.

We obviously would be happy to work on an hourly billing basis using fixed fees for each step of the way.  If you would prefer to instruct us like that, please let me know.

The no-win-no-fee fee would include, if necessary, a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (“FOS”) if appropriate and needed.

Please call our Manchester office should you wish to discuss this.

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