RBS sells Coutts International to UBP



Royal Bank of Scotland has today announced that it is to sell Coutts International, its internationally managed private banking and wealth management business, to Swiss bank Union Bancaire Privée (UBP).

The Financial Times has reported that UBP will pay between $600m and $800m for the business.

The sale comprises client relationships outside the British Isles and associated staff, the 80 per cent state-owned lender said.

A statement from the Edinburgh-based bank also stressed that it will continue to service UK-based private banking and wealth management client needs through its Coutts and Adam & Company brands, which were not included in the sale.

RBS said the sale includes relationships managed from Switzerland, Monaco, UAE, Qatar, Singapore and Hong Kong.

As at 31 December 2014 assets under management were approximately CHF32bn and total risk weighted assets were CHF2bn.

The price paid will be determined in part by assets under management on closing.

RBS said that it anticipates receiving a premium with the resulting capital benefit to RBS expected to be modest after writing off goodwill related to the business and taking into account anticipated exit and restructuring costs.

The RBS statement said: “In the Q1 2015 results, the business to be sold will be treated as a disposal group, resulting in an expected charge in the order of £200 million, primarily relating to the goodwill write off. Initial closing of the transaction is envisaged in Q4 2015, when a majority of the business is expected to transfer, with the remainder during the first part of 2016.”

Alison Rose, CEO, Commercial & Private Banking at RBS (pictured) said: “Last year we set out a clear strategy to create a truly UK-focused bank. This announcement is another important step in that process. Following an extensive review, it was clear that the bank we are building would not be the most appropriate owner of the business being sold.

“We gave careful consideration to identifying a buyer with the capability to take on this business in order to minimise the impact on clients and staff. We believe that in UBP we have found a good long term owner for this business.

“There will be no interruption of service for clients of Coutts or Adam & Company and we remain committed to improving all aspects of our market leading businesses.

“Our Private Banking brands are integral to RBS, supporting our ambition to make this the number one bank for customer service, trust and advocacy in the UK.”

The transaction, supported by Goldman Sachs, is subject to regulatory approvals.