Natwest’s 'sick' payout for Alison Rose tipped to be blocked following Coutts debanking saga

Alison Rose

Alison Rose resigned from her role in July

Christopher Hope

By Christopher Hope

Published: 24/08/2023

- 11:37

Updated: 24/08/2023

- 11:40

The former boss will receive a £2.4million payout

Ministers could step in to block a pay-out worth millions of pounds to NatWest chief Dame Alison Rose who quit over the Nigel Farage de-banking row, GB News can disclose.

The Treasury - which controls a 38.6 per cent stake in NatWest - has made clear that it will decide whether to step in after they have seen an independent report into the saga.

City minister Andrew Griffith - who has been leading criticism of banks which remove banking services for individuals for no good reason - is understood to be watching the situation closely.

One senior source told GB News that ministers could move to block the pay-out if the investigation shows that the board did not consider using clawback or “malus” provisions if wrongdoing is found.

Nigel Farage

Nigel Farage has labelled the payout a "sick joke"


A “malus” is the loss or return of performance-related compensation originally paid by an employer to an employee as a result of the discovery of a defect in the performance.

Dame Alison was forced to resign last month over the “debanking” scandal stemming from the closure of Mr Farage’s account with Coutts, a NatWest subsidiary. She had been chief executive for four years before her resignation having joined NatWest as a trainee in 1992.

Rose admitted to a “serious error in judgement” when she discussed details about the GB News presenter's finances to a BBC journalist.

The bank revealed on Wednesday that Dame Alison is in line for an exit package worth £2.4million while she serves out a 12-month gardening leave.

However, the actual figure could be far higher as Dame Alison is entitled to a bonus of up to £2.9million and stock worth £6million.

She has accumulated shares in the bank since 2017 and will receive them in chunks until mid-2029 under the terms of her contract. The board will take a decision on whether to award a bonus.

The bank has hired law firm Travers Smith to review Dame Alison’s dealings with the BBC, with the results expected by mid-September.

GB News Presenter Nigel Farage labelled the payout a “sick joke”.

He added: “Surely you can’t break client confidentiality, surely you can’t breach virtually every important rule in the FCA codebook, and you can’t then lie about it after you’ve briefed the BBC and still receive a £2.43m payout, and yet that’s exactly what’s happened to Alison Rose.”

Former Brexit secretary David Davis said: “If a junior employee had breached bank confidentiality, they would have been out on their ear with no pay whatsoever.”

He went on: “Frankly, the board should have blocked this and if the board was not willing to do it, the largest shareholder, which happens to be the Treasury, should have stepped in and said it is unacceptable.”

Senior conservatives have pressed the Government to take action if NatWest goes ahead with the massive payout.

One minister said that discussions have been held with the bank about clawing back pay awards, the Telegraph reported.


NatWest branch

NatWest's private banks Coutts, shut down Farage's bank account last month which resulted in a public scandal


Former business secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg said: “People who are fired for gross misconduct do not deserve payouts.”

Conservative MP Harriet Baldwin said that the banking giant should use clawback rules to reduce the payout to Rose.

She said: “I think the remuneration committee of the board will want to look closely at this for the two departed CEOs when the external investigation is completed as some of the compensation will continue to be subject to claw back.”

A NatWest spokesman said: “Like other employees where an investigation outcome is pending, Alison is currently receiving her fixed pay. This is in line with her contractual notice period and remains under continual review, as the independent investigation continues.”

They added: “As previously confirmed, no decision on her remuneration will be taken until the relevant investigations are complete.”

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