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A review by the U.K.’s top financial watchdog has found no evidence that politicians are being denied bank accounts because of their views, people briefed on the findings say.

The Financial Conduct Authority launched an investigation in August, weeks after former Britain’s Independence Party leader Nigel Farage sparked a debate over free speech by claiming his accounts at private bank Coutts were about to be closed because his Views “were not consistent with those of the lender”.

The row over Farage’s “debanking” sparked complaints from other politicians about their treatment by lenders and led the government to order a review by the FCA.

People familiar with the situation said the FCA would publish findings in the coming days showing that there were no cases of political views among the 34 banks and payments companies asked to submit data to the regulator were the “main reason” for the closure of private accounts. The FCA declined to comment.

Farage told the Financial Times on Monday evening: “This is a farce. There are many examples of prominent Brexit supporters being debanked. The FCA is part of the problem.”

The data examined by the FCA covers the period from June 2022 to June 2023.

Farage revealed his bank accounts were due to be closed at the end of June by an unnamed “reputable” financial institution, later confirming it was Coutts.

But his accounts with Coutts were still active at the end of July, when he said the bank offered to let him stay.

Nigel Farage published extracts from a dossier compiled on him by Coutts in July, in which the bank said it was “incompatible” with Coutts to continue to serve him. © Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

The FCA is aware that the data used in its review was compiled quickly and that not all banks have good systems in place to monitor and record the reasons for closing or rejecting accounts, two people briefed on its work said.

They added that the regulator would take further measures to ensure that banks and payment companies do not unfairly deny access to services.

There was some concern in Whitehall that the FCA had failed to find data to show that “de-leveraging” people because of their political views was widespread.

A government insider said “regulators have been quite slow on this issue,” adding that the data compiled by the FCA “may lack granularity.”

Farage published extracts from a dossier compiled by Coutts on him in July when the closure of his accounts was being discussed, in which the bank said continuing to look after him was “incompatible with Coutts” as his views were “contrary to our position as “an inclusive organization”.

The row led to the departure of Alison Rose, chief executive of NatWest, Coutts’ parent company, after she admitted leaking confidential information about his accounts to a journalist.

Politicians across party lines, led by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, have condemned the apparent practice of banks closing people’s accounts based on their political views.

“People must be able to legitimately hold views that we may disagree with, but they should not be denied financial services because of it,” Sunak said last month.

The FCA is separately examining financial services firms’ treatment of so-called politically exposed people, a group that includes politicians and civil servants. The work is expected to be completed next year.

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