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Co-op Bank censured by regulators but dodges fine

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The Co-operative Bank has dodged a multi-million pound fine by the regulator for failings that led to its near collapse two years ago.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) issued the bank with a public censure today but said a financial penalty would threaten its already weak recovery.

In a joint investigation with the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), the FCA found that Co-op Bank breached ‘Listing Rules’ which require issuers to ensure that public information is not misleading so investors can make fully informed decisions.

The PRA also separately published the result of its enforcement action against the bank.

It found that between 22 July 2009 and  31 December 2013, Co-op Bank failed to “manage its affairs responsibly, with adequate risk management.”

The regulator said Co-op Bank’s failings would normally merit a substantial fine. However, in the circumstances, it has decided not to impose a financial penalty.

Georgina Philippou, acting director of enforcement and market oversight, said: “Firms have a very basic but extremely important responsibility to be transparent with their investors and with us, as their regulator, and Co-op Bank fell short of this. As a result, investors were left unaware of Co-op Bank’s true capital position and we were left in the dark about intended changes to senior personnel at the bank.

“This is a serious matter, but exceptional circumstances mean a public censure is the appropriate and proportionate response. It is vitally important that Co-op Bank’s capital resources are directed towards improving its resilience.”

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