UPDATE 2-UK’s FSA clears ex-RBS chief Goodwin of wrongdoing

* FSA closes investigation into RBS

* FSA found no fraud or dishonest actions by top RBS staff

* RBS staff competence considered in future job applications
(Adds further background, detail)

By Sudip Kar-Gupta and Kirstin Ridley

LONDON, Dec 2 (BestGrowthStock) – Britain’s financial regulator
cleared Fred Goodwin, the controversial former chief executive
of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L: ), of wrongdoing after closing a
lengthy investigation into the bailed-out bank.

The Financial Services Authority (FSA) said on Thursday that
RBS had made a series of bad decisions in the years immediately
before the financial crisis, such as buying Dutch peer ABN AMRO
and expanding aggressively in investment banking.

But it added that these decisions did not stem from a lack
of integrity by any individual, and they found no instances of
fraud or dishonest activity by RBS senior individuals and no
failure of governance by the board.

“The issues we investigated do not warrant us taking any
enforcement action, either against the firm or against
individuals,” it said.

“However, the competence of RBS individuals can, and will,
be taken into account in any future applications made by them to
work at FSA regulated firms,” it added.

Goodwin presided over an aggressive acquisition strategy at
RBS, and his policy of often generating savings by cutting jobs
earned him the nickname Fred The Shred.

However, the credit crisis of 2008 left his plans in tatters
due to RBS’s exposure to the United States’ property market
slump, toxic assets and a decline in fortunes at ABN AMRO.

The bank had to be propped up with 20 billion pounds ($31
billion) of taxpayers’ money, prompting his eventual
resignation.

After public anger over his 703,000 pound annual pension
package, he eventually agreed to reduce it to 342,500 pounds.

Goodwin has since found work as an advisor at architecture
company RMJM, and his former RBS cohort Johnny Cameron has also
since found work at boutique investment bank Gleacher Shacklock.
[ID:nLDE69P0LH]

Shares in RBS, 80 percent of which are owned by the British
state, were up 2.4 percent at 40.82 pence by 1030 GMT, while the
European banking sector (.SX7P: ) was up 1.1 percent.
(Editing by Will Waterman)
($1=.6410 Pound)

UPDATE 2-UK’s FSA clears ex-RBS chief Goodwin of wrongdoing