NatWest boss’s ‘£2.4m exit deal’ is a disgrace, says Nigel Farage

NatWest boss’s ‘£2.4m exit deal’ is a disgrace, says Nigel Farage

23 Aug    Finance News, News

Nigel Farage branded Dame Alison Rose’s NatWest exit an “absolute disgrace”, after it emerged she could be set to receive a pay package worth more than £2.4million.

The bank revealed on Wednesday that Rose was seeing out her 12-month notice period on her contract, one month after she resigned as chief executive.

She is due to receive £1.155 million in salary for the year, £1.155 million in NatWest shares — over a five-year period — and £115,566 in pension payments, NatWest said.

But it added that the board was yet to decide if it would attempt to claw back past bonus awards related to her performance, following an investigation into the Farage scandal, and added that the sums expected were not guaranteed.

NatWest said: “Like other employees where an investigation outcome is pending, Alison is currently receiving her fixed pay. This is in line with her contractual notice period and remains under continual review, as the independent investigation continues. As previously confirmed, no decision on her remuneration will be taken until the relevant investigations are complete.”

Rose, 54, quit as NatWest’s chief executive on July 25, after she admitted leaking confidential customer information about Farage to a BBC journalist at a charity dinner.

Her briefing to the BBC’s business editor resulted in an inaccurate story suggesting the Brexiteer had been debanked by Coutts — which NatWest owns — as he did not meet its wealth threshold.

Farage was later able to get hold of a 40-page dossier which revealed he had his accounts closed by the private bank because his views did not align with its inclusive values.

In a video posted on Twitter, the former Brexit Party leader said: “When I heard about it I thought perhaps it was a sick joke.”

The Conservative MP Sir Jake Berry called the amount a “disgraceful reward” for failure, and the former Brexit secretary David Davis urged the government to step in.

Ministers are understood to be waiting to see the result of the law firm Travers Smith’s investigation into the scandal, commissioned by NatWest. Harriett Baldwin, who chairs the Treasury select committee, said the bank should consider using claw-back rules to minimise the payout to Rose.

Farage said: “It’s an absolute disgrace. This is classic of the establishment — clubbing together and looking after their own. This is not just a reward for failure — it’s for breaking every rule in the book.

“Dame Alison Rose breached client confidentiality — far from receiving £2.4 million in compensation I think there should be serious questions asked about her damehood.”

Referring to Fred Goodwin, the former RBS chief executive, Farage added: “He lost his knighthood — he didn’t break the law as far as I’m aware.”

The politician-turned-broadcaster, currently in the US for the first Republican primary debate, also took aim at Sir Howard Davies, the NatWest chairman, for kicking the scandal “into the long grass”.

He said he is not due to receive a subject access request on him from the bank — to identify any further breaches — until the end of October. Farage added: “They’ve chosen a city law firm to investigate, headed up by a man who calls Brexiteers racists and xenophobes.”

Rose resigned in July after pressure from Downing Street and the Treasury over her position. NatWest Group is still part-owned by the taxpayer. She was followed out the door by Peter Flavel, Coutts’s chief executive.

After the scandal, Rishi Sunak, the prime minister, reaffirmed that banks should not restrict freedom of speech by shutting accounts of those with opposing views.

Andrew Griffith, the City minister, also hauled leading bankers into a meeting, as the government announced new requirements on banks to protect the freedom of expression of customers.

The Treasury said banks will be forced to explain and delay any decision to close an account under new rules, to combat account closures over political beliefs. The changes will increase the notice period banks have to offer to 90 days — giving customers more time to challenge a decision through the Financial Ombudsman Service.

NatWest said that it would review Rose’s planned pay and bonus payouts in relation to investigations into her actions in the Farage affair. It said: “Ms Rose’s notice period and the payments she will continue to receive for the notice period will be reviewed on a continuing basis, having regard to the internal and external investigations relating to the account closure arrangements at Coutts and associated events.

“Decisions on these awards, along with any decisions regarding other remuneration matters, will be made taking into account the findings of the investigations, as appropriate.”

It added that policies allowing the company to potentially “claw back” bonus payments will apply to the former boss.

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