Email from SME Alliance to me (Andrew Jones) and my response:
I have just been copied in to several e-mails where you have made false representation regarding a meeting I was party to with the FCA in November 2015.
You have made a number of statements regarding the status and representations of parties at the meeting including myself, where I represented several people whose files and paperwork had been materially altered by various Banks, their clear intent being to protect and cover up various misbehaviours. Several of these files are now being investigated by Economic Crime Officers in various Police forces, despite the FCA’s failure to consider or investigate the concerns with any integrity or in any meaningful way.
You could only comment on the interaction of parties in that room, in a confidential meeting, if you had been ‘leaked’ information in relation to that meeting.
I insist that you confirm the source of your information by return; or withdraw your statements and confirm you have no evidence, basis or knowledge on which to make such allegations or engage with any parliamentary group.
Any failure to respond to this correspondence will confirm that you are simply a further ‘hired gun’ employed to protect bank misbehaviour and the FCA’s duplicity in such matters, at this stage however, we are unsure as to which institution engaged and /or influenced your behaviour and therefore I would suggest that until you declare any valid position of interest in such matters your correspondence is summarily dismissed.
Dear SME Alliance/Mr Steve Middleton,
Your email accuses me of:
• Making false representations
• Relying on “leaked” information
Your assertion is simply incorrect, and it is notable that your email does not give even one specific example of what in my emails was either false or leaked.
If you wish to identify such a statement, I will happily respond.
On the other hand, I note again the following points, and am happy to confirm the source of the information:
1. Whilst the SME Alliance says that the customers gave their permission only, “"for us to share information solely with the FCA (Source, SME Alliance letter published on SME Alliance website), it is notable that:
a. In a radio phone in involving Ross McEwan, a third party journalist called in and said, "I’ve seen the files, I’ve seen the lot of them," and, "I’d be very happy to meet with you and bring the evidence." Source, transcript of radio phone in, re-produced in SME Alliance newsletter 11 December 2015, published on SME Alliance website.
b. The SME Alliance wrote to Ross McEwan at the end of November 2015 and said, "We would like to present you personally with the evidence we have." Source, letter to RBS, re-produced in SME Alliance newsletter 11 December 2015, published on SME Alliance website.
2. The FCA CEO in her letter to the Treasury Committee on 10 March 2016 states that states that the customers in question had "themselves, or through their representatives, already disclosed their identity and raised the same allegations with the banks involved." Source, FCA letter published on Treasury Committee website.
3. The SME Alliance position that the individual customers were seeking to keep deal with the allegations confidentially is further contradicted by, for example, one of the SME Alliance directors, Mr Keats (Source, Companies House), who said on Twitter on 3 November 2015, “FCA meeting 11.30-2pm sharing evidence of RBS fabrication of customer records, call transcript, email, meeting notes etc. BBC & Times cover!” (Source @AndyKeats 3 November 2015).
Mr Keats also said on Twitter, on 21 November 2015, “It was me that gave 3 hr presentation to the FCA - 3 case studies mine. I wish they were not true!” (Source @AndyKeats 21 November 2015).
Therefore, of the 8 cases reported to have been raised by the SME Alliance about RBS (source, SME Alliance letter to Treasury Committee dated 18 January 2016, published on SME Alliance website), about 40% of these were Mr Keats’. However, Mr Keats’ allegations were reported in detail in The Times newspaper on 28 September 2015 (source, The Times, 28 September 2015), more than a month before the SME Alliance meeting with the FCA. The allegations were also reported in detail on the website of the Serious Banking Complaints Bureau (source, Serious Banking Complaints Bureau website) and Mr Keats also gave a detailed presentation of his allegations to the 33rd Cambridge Economic Symposium on Economic Crime on 10 September 2015 (source, Serious Banking Complaints Bureau website).
4. The FCA CEO’s the Treasury Committee dated 10 March 2016 states that the SME Alliance files were apparently handed to the banks by the Member of Parliament for Aberconwy and the Times newspaper. Source, FCA letter published on Treasu
Finally, you have asked me to declare my interest in this matter. To this I will simply say that the SME Alliance has chosen to play out this matter in the public domain. For example, publicising its allegations with The Times newspaper, and also publishing an open-letter to the Treasury Committee on 18 January 2016. In turn, the Treasury Committee has put its exchange of correspondence with the FCA in the public domain. Therefore, as a member of the public, I feel perfectly entitled to comment and raise concerns.
Mr Jones, Thank you for your comments and views. Please note, the e-mail you received was not from SME Alliance but from one of our advisers/members who, not surprisingly, found your speculation and suppositions very offensive. You seem extraordinarily interested in SME Alliance - we don't know whether we should take that as a compliment or an unhealthy obsession? Given you have chosen to remain anonymous, I can't see any useful purpose in corresponding.
Dear Mrs Turner
I thank you for responding, although I find your reply surprising.
Firstly you say I have chosen to remain anonymous. Well I haven't have I? I've submitted my real name and email. I'm not sure what additional personal information would be needed for you to reply, but would note that given the background of this debate it's somewhat strange that you believe anonymity to be a negative factor.
I have raised a number of points - in the public domain - that contradict the position of the sme alliance. I have clearly explained these and referenced each point to supporting information- nothing offensive or speculative.
The facts have been provided to TSC so I agree, let them draw their own conclusions.