Following the recent Nigel Farage and Coutts Bank row, we look at what a Subject Access Request (SAR) is, how to make one, and why there appears to have been an explosion of them in recent times.
What Happened Between Nigel Farage and Coutts?
To summarise in a way that’s relevant this article, in a chain of events starting at the end of June, British broadcaster and former UK politician Nigel Farage was informed by Coutts bank that, due to a “commercial decision”, it would no longer do business with him and was closing his account. The NatWest-owned Coutts bank is widely regarded as being a bank for wealthy people because to be a customer you famously need to maintain at least £1m in investments or borrowing (mortgage), or £3m in savings. Following several allegations and theories about why Coutts may have done this, Mr Farage submitted a SAR to find out exactly why. The 40-page document sent back to him by the bank revealed that staff at the bank had spent time compiling evidence on the "significant reputational risks of being associated with him". The document was reported to have suggested that the bank didn’t want him as a customer because his views didn’t align with the firm's "values", e.g. Mr Farage’s position on LGBTQ+ rights and his friendship with former US president Donald Trump. In short, the document suggested that Mr Farage's views were at odds with the bank’s position as an inclusive organisation.
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