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Another Suitor Seeks To Buy Coutts International - Report

Tom Burroughes, Group Editor, 5 January 2015


Yet another bank has reportedly offered to buy the wealth management arm of Royal Bank of Scotland.

As the clock ticks down towards a likely announcement, yet another banking name – Investec – has been added to the list of suitors wooing Royal Bank of Scotland for its non-UK private banking arm, Coutts International.

Sky News reported late yesterday that the South Africa/UK-listed banking group, which already has a private banking arm, has joined a cluster of firms such as Singapore’s DBS which are said to be eying a bid for part of the Coutts business.

Investec and RBS reportedly declined to comment on the matter.

The report said that analysts reckon the Coutts International business could fetch as much as £650 million. RBS has, as previously reported, hired Goldman Sachs to advise on the sale.

As reported late last December, Singapore-listed DBS Group is in talks with Societe Generale, the French bank, in its bid for the international private banking arm of Royal Bank of Scotland.

There are now at least 10 banks that have been invited to consider bids for Coutts International. The late-December media reports said the aforementioned joint bid would, if it succeeded, see DBS take over Coutts International’s Asian operations and Societe Generale take over the other operations. In March this year, DBS bought the Asian private bank of Societe Generale. DBS completed its SocGen deal in October.

DBS has reportedly asked Citigroup to advise it on a possible bid.

The move by UK-listed RBS – still majority-owned by the UK government – to offload its non-UK private banking arm has been part of a trend of some banks selling out of operations seen as insufficiently lucrative to justify the cost, creating opportunities for other firms to expand their market reach.


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