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Co-op bondholders attack FCA role in bank restructure

A group representing retail Co-op Bank bondholders says it is “sickened” by FCA claims it played a key role in helping them recoup money as part of the bank’s restructure.

Last week, FCA director of supervision Clive Adamson told the Treasury select committee it got “as best a deal as it could get” for Co-op bondholders. 

After a £1.5bn capital black hole was discovered last year, a restructure of the bank in December saw an estimated 15,000 Co-op Bank bondholders exchange their permanent interest bearing shares paying up to 13 per cent for bonds with lower returns.

Co-op retail bondholders campaign group head Mark Taber says: “The FCA has done nothing and found excuses not to do anything when asked. To see Adamson claiming the regulator did its best is staggering and pretty galling, particularly when it has been a nightmare. It is sickening.”

The Co-op Bank is currently the subject of three internal investigations, a Treasury-commissioned independent review, FCA and Prudential Regulation Authority enforcement investigations and a TSC inquiry into its failed bid for Lloyds Banking Group’s 632 branches.

An FCA spokesman says: “We strongly refute any suggestion that Adamson misrepresented the FCA’s role in the Co-op Bank’s liability management exercise. The FCA’s role has always been to ensure bondholders are treated fairly.”

Worldwide Financial Planning IFA Nick McBreen says: “The FCA should not be managing the day to day business of banks but appointing the right people and then supervising them. It got that wrong.”

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