A U.K. Financial Conduct Authority official held secret meetings with a Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC executive in 2016 while regulators were probing the bank's controversial global restructuring group, The Times of London reported.
Simone Ferreira, then head of event supervision at the regulator, had social drinks with Jon Pain, who was then RBS's chief conduct and regulatory affairs officer, according to the Oct. 4 report.
Ferreira supervised a team whose functions included acting as a mediator for the FCA, RBS and Promontory, a consultancy that carried out a review of the defunct GRG unit on behalf of the regulator, while Pain managed the bank's response to the issue at the unit, the newspaper noted.
The meetings would support perceptions about an "incestuous relationship and the revolving door" between banks and regulators, The Times quoted a parliamentary group as saying.
FCA head Andrew Bailey confirmed that Ferreira had not made any official record of the meetings in an email exchange with a whistleblower who raised concerns about the issue in August, the report added. Bailey said work matters were not brought up in the meetings and that Ferreira and Pain met due to both being former colleagues, noting that no FCA rules were breached.
Ferreira and Pain previously worked together at the FCA's predecessor, the Financial Services Authority, The Times noted.
The FCA said Ferreira had no influence over the GRG review or was not involved in any subsequent probe into the unit, adding that all major decisions on the regulator's response were taken by more senior executives.