RBS revamps with ring-fencing and re-branding

RBS chief executive Ross McEwan

Royal Bank of Scotland on Friday attempted to explain how the legal entity structure of the RBS group is expected to change over the next two years to comply with the UK’s ring-fencing requirements before January 1, 2019.

The UK ring-fencing legislation requires the separation of essential banking services from investment banking services and is designed to avoid a repeat of the 2008 financial crisis when risky gambles made by investment bank divisions endangered retail customers’ money.

RBS also gave more details on its brand strategy for the businesses within the group.

Over the coming months, NatWest will become the main customer facing brand for the group in England and Wales and Western Europe — and in Scotland, Royal Bank of Scotland will be the core brand.

The group’s Corporate & Institutional Banking business will become known as NatWest Markets in readiness for the future ring-fenced structure.

Ross McEwan, RBS chief executive said: “Our proposed future structure under the ring-fencing legislation and our brand strategy are key elements of the bank we are becoming.”

On the ring-fencing, RBS said by the end of 2018, it intends to place the majority of its UK and Western European banking business in ring-fenced banking entities under an intermediate holding company.

“Our Corporate & Institutional Banking (CIB) activities will be in a non-ring-fenced bank and our RBS International business will be placed outside the ring-fence, both as subsidiaries of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc,” said the company.

“In line with regulatory requirements, RBS Group plc will continue to be the primary issuing entity for funding and capital raising activities.

“RBS continues to work through its ring-fencing plans and any implications for debt issued by RBS’s entities will be announced in due course.”

RBS said its final ring-fenced legal structure and the actions taken to achieve it, remain subject to, amongst other factors, additional regulatory, board and other approvals as well as employee information and consultation procedures.

“All such actions and their respective timings may be subject to change, or additional actions may be required, including as a result of external and internal factors including further regulatory, corporate or other developments.”

Full details of the ring-fencing and re-branding can be read here.