Thursday 14 December 2017

RBS chief says restructuring is ahead of schedule

Andrew MacAskill

Royal Bank of Scotland chief Stephen Hester said he is "pleased" with the restructuring of the bank, which he considers the most complicated ever undertaken by any company in the world.

RBS has avoided most of the risks that may have “blown up” the bank in the past year, Hester told a panel of lawmakers in British parliament today. The risks the bank now faces will be “setbacks” as opposed to be “blow-up events,” he said.

“We did not slip on as many banana skins as I thought we might,” Hester said. “We are, if anything, well ahead of where I thought we would be,” he added. “That gives me encouragement to believe that we can hit all of the ambitious targets for the recovery of RBS.”

The way RBS was run before its government rescue last year was a “disaster,” John Kingman, former chief executive officer of UK Financial Investments Ltd., which manages the government’s stakes in banks, told lawmakers in November.

RBS required £45.5bn in capital from the British taxpayer in the world’s most expensive bank bailout.

RBS has halved the size of its investment bank whether measured by capital or size of its balance sheet, Hester said. The UK general election is a potential “distraction” for RBS because the lender may become the focus of debate, Hester said.

Hester was giving evidence to Parliaments Treasury Committee, along with Northern Rock Chief Executive Officer Gary Hoffman and Lloyds Banking Group CEO Eric Daniels.


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