It’s settled, it’s not settled, it’s mostly settled, but not quite. The recent decision by the high court to call off the case that would have forced the former Royal Bank of Scotland CEO Fred Goodwin to give evidence, seems to allow a settlement for the vast majority of outstanding shareholder plaintiffs in the case, but still seems to provide an opportunity for investors not agreeing to the deal to be able to revive proceedings against the bank next month.

The case involves a group of investors who claimed that Goodwin—who was stripped of his knighthood in 2012 and was known as “Fred the Shred” for his ruthless cost-cutting—made false claims about the bank’s financial health in a prospectus calling for investment via a £12 billion cash call on 22 April 2008. Due to start on 22 May, a new offer from RBS saw a series of adjournments to the case. Then Jonathan Nash, the QC for around 9,000 retail investors, part of the RBS Action Group, and a few institutions told the judge that 87 percent of the shareholder group had settled or intended to. The remaining investors have been asked to settle formally by 4 July, or to tell the court by the end of July if they want to resume the trial.

RBS offered to double the amount of compensation for this final group of shareholders who lost more than 80 percent of their investment through backing the rights issue that occurred only six months before the bank was saved from collapse by a partial nationalization requiring £45 billion of taxpayer funding.

Almost a record for the high court, RBS has spent more than £100 million in legal fees trying to keep the case out of court—one hopes not with the sole aim of allowing Goodwin to escape a court hearing—and offered the remaining shareholders compensation of 82p a share. This latest offer must leave other investors who have already settled, including many City institutions, a little miffed. An earlier settlement paid out 42p a share. Another paid 43.2p per share in April, while a further one paid out 41.2p per share in December 2016. Shareholders paid over 172p per share for the rights issue originally.

Now that it is over (sort of) a review of how we got there would seem opportune. Once the government got involved with RBS, it really got involved, and a simple search for “RBS” on the Website brings up thousands of hits. The most fulsome was the Treasury Committee’s investigation into the bank’s failure and the reasons why the Financial Services Authority (FSA)—which is now the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)—and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) failed to prevent the collapse of the bank and failed to prosecute any of its board or senior management. The FSA’s failure to discover why the bank was not all it seemed to be was largely based on its adoption of global banking standards in place before the financial crisis that turned out to be insufficient for purpose. Banks at that time complied with Basel II not Basel III, as they do now.

The Treasury Committee’s report puts it very clearly: “But one way of illustrating the deficiencies of the global framework that established that minimum [capital] requirement is by contrasting what RBS’s position would have been if the Basel III definitions of capital had been in place before the crisis. The Review Team estimated that RBS would have recorded a common equity tier 1 ratio at end-2007 of around 2%. This compares to an absolute minimum, under the new standards, of 4.5%, and a higher level of 9.5% in place for the largest systemically important banks; RBS was one such in 2008. Failing this ratio would have prevented the bank from paying dividends, from buying ABN AMRO, and from issuing a rights issue.

The committee also noted that RBS had an extensive reliance on “wholesale funding,” a catch-all term that mainly refers to federal funds, foreign deposits, and brokered deposits, and sometimes borrowings in the public debt market. It is not a method of funding on which commercial banks typically rely. The committee noted: “Its short-term wholesale funding gap was one of the largest in its peer group, and it was more reliant on overnight funding and unsecured funding than most of its peers. The acquisition of ABN AMRO increased its reliance on short-term wholesale funding.”

But funding was not the bank’s only problem. Again, comparing the bank’s actual position with future Basel III requirements, “RBS’s liquidity position at end-August 2008 would have translated to an LCR [Liquidity Coverage Ratio] (as currently calibrated) of between 18% and 32%, versus a future standard requirement of 100%.” Another major financial problem was over asset quality concerns that were focused on loan portfolio uncertainties. “By early 2007, RBS had accumulated significant exposures containing credit risk in its trading portfolio, following its strategic decision in mid-2006 to expand its structured credit business aggressively,” said the committee.

This seeming inability to learn from past mistakes makes not only a very strong case to bring Goodwin into court to answer questions on those mistakes but also to amend the law so that those responsible for such decisions can be held liable.

The near-death blow was dealt by RBS’ decision to buy Dutch bank ABN AMRO. Because it was a contested takeover—Barclays was also a potential buyer—the due diligence able to be conducted was limited, but this inadequate understanding of ABN AMRO’s actual value was, according to the committee: “inappropriate in light of the nature and scale of the acquisition and the major risks involved.”

This is the first example the committee gives of the board’s defective decision making. And the committee lists a whole series of problems that it revealed, “the probability of underlying deficiencies in:

a bank’s management capabilities and style

governance arrangements

checks and balances

mechanisms for oversight and challenge

and in its culture, particularly its attitude to the balance between risk and growth

The committee also hypothesised that the board was ill-equipped to challenge the CEO, and that it neither had enough information, nor the gumption to ask for it, on either the level of total risk the bank was exposed to or the level of risk that specific strategic decisions added to that total risk.

The other big question asked by the committee is: Why wasn’t anyone prosecuted? Unfortunately, the answer to the question is a simple one: Because the likely chances of success, given the legal position as it then stood, of any enforcement action were nil. As we now know, that position is likely to change yet further and should make it easier for directors to be prosecuted successfully.

But the committee enquiry was not the end of the government’s (now an owner) involvement in RBS. Nor was the bank’s collapse and its subsequent bailout the end of its poor decision making. One would have thought that poor decision making on such a monumental scale would have prompted the bank to improve its governance arrangements, improve management, improve checks and balances, and improve its culture, but this was not the case.

As an almost perfect start, Goodwin was condemned as a “benefit scrounger” when it was disclosed that he was to receive an annual pension of £703,000 in October 2008. This was eventually reduced to £342,500 a year after months of protest and the discovery of a £4 million family home in the hills above Cannes by the News of the World, which printed pictures of the house, and swimming pool, tennis court, and summer house in the grounds. Unfortunately, this reduction was not applied before he had already received a £2.8 million lump sum pension payment, on which RBS paid the tax, and a £2.6 million bonus he was paid in his last year at the company. The Treasury Committee was furious with then-City Minister Paul Myners for allowing the RBS board to agree to the bonus and pension in the first place before the Treasury takeover of the company. Goodwin had initially defended his right to the benefits as an entitlement under an agreement with the previous board.

The Committee also took on Lord Myners’ acceptance of the RBS’ suggestion that there was no option but to treat Sir Fred as “leaving at the employer’s request.” Not only should the “incompetent” RBS board have been prevented from conducting the negotiations, but the Treasury should have stepped in and insisted on his dismissal, when both bonus and pension would have been cancelled.

Then, in evidence to the committee, Goodwin and former chairman Sir Tom McKillop admitted that neither had any banking qualifications, except, noted Goodwin, that he had been responsible for winding up banks as an accountant/auditor.

And the bonus and compensation scandals continued. In a single year, 2009, the House handed out nine condemnations of bonus payments at the bank, often contrasting them with mass redundancies, showing that Fred was not the only shredder at the bank. Typical of these is this statement from November 2009, when RBS made redundant 3,700 workers after earlier offering a £7 million golden handshake to hire one “so-called star banker from Merrill Lynch,” and offering a salary package worth more than £5.4 million to recruit a finance director from the Bank of New York Mellon. In addition to these payments, the House also criticised RBS senior management for setting aside a £4 billion bonus pot, topping the “deals awarded at the peak of the financial boom in 2007 and are 66 percent higher than those paid in 2008.”

In addition, U.K. Financial Investments Ltd (UKFI), the public body created by the Treasury to oversee the government’s investment in failing banks, endorsed in 2009 the “obscene financial package worth £9,600,000 per year to Stephen Hester as chief executive of RBS.” This is contrasted with an announcement by RBS to make 700 workers redundant in the first wave of a planned 4,500 job losses across the United Kingdom, which followed an announcement of 9,000 job losses by RBS earlier in the year. This also followed Hester’s own admission to the Treasury Committee that: “I do think banking pay in some areas of the industry is way too high and needs to come down and I intend us to lead that process.”

Problems continued in the new decade, with IT failures, massive fines from the SEC for misleading investors, senior executives caught lying about profit centres, and more bonuses handing out in years of massive losses.

This seeming inability to learn from past mistakes makes not only a very strong case to bring Goodwin into court to answer questions on those mistakes but also to amend the law so that those responsible for such decisions can be held liable.