Nigel Farage’s UK banks conspiracy theory is nonsensical and a distraction from the real issues of customers being abandoned by financial institutions, affirms the CEO and founder of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory, asset management and fintech organisations.
The comments from deVere Group’s Nigel Green come as the former UKIP and Brexit Party leader said his bank was closing his accounts, claiming it was “serious political persecution” from an anti-Brexit banking industry.
Now, Rishi Sunak’s government is stepping in. Downing Street has confirmed there were “concerns” at the Treasury which was now looking at the whether the banks were indeed closing certain accounts.
The deVere CEO and founder says: “So far there has been no evidence at all to show that the seven banks refusing to suddenly work with Nigel Farage is anything to do with his political views.
“The suggestion that banks have dropped him for his Brexit views strikes me as odd as his political views are hardly new, are they? So why now?
“Also, the banking institutions he refers to could hardly be described as ‘woke leftie’ organisations, could they?
“Banks are commercially driven and neutral. But they do, rightly, have an obligation to follow strict rules on unexplained sources of funds, unusual activity, and payments from politically exposed persons or high-risk/sanctioned countries.
“It also seems convenient for Farage that banks cannot breach GDPR and publicly state why his accounts have been closed, meaning he is free to wheel-out what appears to be nonsensical conspiracy theories.”
Nigel Green says this debacle is frustrating as it distracts from banks’ other failings when they do strip people of their accounts.
“Most UK high street banks outrageously failed many tens of thousands of expat clients across Europe,” he notes.
“Accounts have been shut and debit and credit cards voided – regardless of how much or how little you have in those accounts or how long you have been a client – as after Brexit rules kicked-in it became illegal for UK banks to service British customers living in the EU without applying for new banking licences.
“This is hugely complicated, incredibly time-consuming and very costly for banks. This is why they are unwilling to work with customers across Europe.
“This has caused considerable disruption and inconvenience for many individuals, families, businesses and other organisations, especially where there are larger deposits, standing orders, regular payments and credit facilities to another bank.”
Expats in Europe are, thankfully, able to seek a financial services provider that already operates under pan-European rules.
However, Nigel Green says that if “Sunak’s government can rush to investigate Farage’s wild conspiracy theories, it should also be able to work on a strategy to resolve the issue of expats being routinely and unceremoniously dropped by UK high street banks.”