A LAWYER who has spent the best part of the last decade taking action against Royal Bank of Scotland has set up a joint venture company to help former clients of the bank’s Global Restructuring Group navigate its complaints process.

MBM Commercial partner Cat MacLean said the firm had joined forces with Edinburgh financial advisory firm Veritas Treasury to launch MBM Veritas after RBS last month announced a compensation scheme for former customers of its controversial GRG arm.

The bank made the move following allegations that its GRG unit forced small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) into bankruptcy before buying their assets at knock-down prices and selling them on at a profit.

While the bank refutes these claims, its chief executive Ross McEwan said last month that it has “acknowledged for some time that mistakes were made” when dealing with customers of GRG. The bank has set aside £400 million to refund fees and meet the “redress costs arising from the new complaints process” that stem from these mistakes.

However, Ms MacLean said that the bar for making complaints has been set too high for many former customers to benefit, with MBM Veritas being set up to help individuals make as robust a case as possible to the bank.

In particular, she noted that as a number of the companies that went through the GRG unit are now either in administration or liquidation their former directors will not be able to personally claim any financial recompense.

Although RBS’s website states that anyone whose company is insolvent can complain, it adds that “we are only able to deal with the officials of the company presently appointed and listed at Companies House”, adding that people in that situation will “need to engage with the relevant person at the administrator or liquidator should you wish to complain”.

Ms MacLean said this was one of the schemes main “flaws”.

“A very high percentage of businesses who went into GRG didn’t survive and were placed into insolvency,” she said. “If you’re put through the insolvency process you as a director of that failed business have no right to pursue a claim because the title to that claim belongs to the insolvency practitioner.”

She added that it would be difficult for the insolvency practitioner to put a complaint together because they would not be party to all the facts of a customer’s relationship with the bank.

A further issue is that RBS will not accept complaints that have already been before the Financial Ombudsman Service.

“That seems wrong because the ombudsman gave the bank the opportunity to respond to these claims but at that time the bank was defending those claims very aggressively,” she said.

“The ombudsman was looking at these claims with information from the bank that nothing was wrong but we now know that is different.”

A spokesman for RBS said the bank had “not changed its position” in relation to such claims and pointed to the comments it made when announcing the complaints process as evidence of its stance.

At that time it said that it “acknowledged, in some areas, it could have done better for SME customers in GRG”.

In relation to the claims process itself the spokesman said: “If we’ve devised it in that way then we don’t think the bar has been set too high.”