RBS to Significantly Shrink Investment Banking Arm

Decision comes after firm announces loss of £3.45 billion last year

RBS will significantly reduce the size of its investment banking arm.

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has announced it will exit its markets businesses in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa and "substantially" reduce its presence in Asia-Pacific and the US.

The decision comes after the firm announced a loss of £3.47 billion ($5.38 billion) last year. While still a shortfall, it is an improvement compared to RBS' £8.995 billion ($13.94 billion) deficit in 2013.

"This is a plan for a smaller, more focused, but ultimately more valuable bank with the vast majority of its assets in the UK, and for RBS markets the end of the standalone global investment bank model," said RBS in a statement.

The bank said it plans on continuing to maintain trading and distribution hubs in Singapore and the US. The firm will focus on product offerings in sterling, US dollar and euro that include debt financing, with debt capital markets, structured finance and loans; risk management in currency, rates and inflation; and transaction services, with UK-focused cash, payments and trade.

"These changes will create a more focused corporate and institutional bank built on existing product and service strengths," the statement said.

Changing of the Board
The news comes the same day as the naming of the successor of the firm's current director and chairman, Philip Hampton, who will step down later this year. Sir Howard Davies will take over for Hampton effective Sept. 1. Prior to that, Davies will join the board at the end of June.

Currently, Davies is the chairman of Phoenix Group, a point of sale (POS) distributer, a non-executive director of Prudential and a non-executive director of Morgan Stanley. He formerly headed up the UK's Financial Conduct Authority's predecessor, the FSA, and was also director of the London School of Economics.

"I am delighted to be joining the Board and look forward to leading the bank through the next phase of its journey," said Davies in a statement. "[RBS CEO] Ross McEwan has set out a very clear strategy to create the number one bank in the UK for trust, customer service and advocacy. I look forward to working closely with him in order to achieve that ambition."


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