Today I send this email to the new CEO of the Financial Conduct Authority. It will be self-explanatory.
Dear Mr Rathi
Operation Tenterden refers to an FCA investigation into illegal charges added to debts by HSBC (HFC, John Lewis etc) – a matter I first reported to the FSA in 2012; which has been the subject of an SRA ruling (confirming the illegality of the charges); an order by the OFT in 2010 telling HFC to stop adding them; four Treasury Select Committee hearings and two agreements the FCA reached with the bank, in 2017 & 2019. The total recompense agreed to be repaid, including interest, exceeds £30m:
Before leaving his role in 2020 the previous Complaints Commissioner wrote to me to confirm that he was still monitoring the FCA to ensure that in turn they were monitoring HSBC’s compliance with their undertaking.
However, it is apparent from recent press reports and people who have contacted me directly, that HSBC has continued to add these charges post 2010 when the OFT order was made against the bank. Please see this recent report in the Times – it is apparent that Mr Wilkinson opened his account in 2010. It is also apparent that the amount of “legal costs” added to the debt amount to 16.5% of the debt. This is not coincidence – it is the amount unlawfully added to debts by the bank’s solicitors Weightmans and Restons:
I recently made a Freedom of Information Act request to the FCA for more information on what the mysterious payments people were receiving related to, and what was the FCA’s role in their payments. You refused to comply with my request, even redacting the name of the bank in your reply.
This all leads to a situation where the bank is paying “compensation” to people without any detail as to what the compensation is for, nor as to how the amount is arrived at. People cannot be expected to rely on HSBC to pay the correct amounts, voluntarily.
Please can you tell me who at the FCA is monitoring HSBC, and if no-one, why not. What is the total redress you expect to be repaid? My records suggest £200m+ involving 5-600,000 customers.
I have copied in the current Complaints Commissioner. Please understand that if you do not provide the required information in this email a further complaint will be made to the Commissioner. Both the FCA and HSBC have treated their customers, the media and myself with utter contempt and seen to act with impunity.
I am making this email public.