People Moves

NatWest Names New Wealth CEO

Tom Burroughes Group Editor 9 February 2024

NatWest Names New Wealth CEO

After a damaging episode last summer over the "de-banking" affair involving broadcaster and former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, the bank hopes to move on under a new CEO, replacing an interim chief in post after Peter Flavel resigned in July.

NatWest Group has appointed Emma Crystal as new chief executive of the wealth business which includes Coutts, subject to regulatory clearance. 

NatWest said Crystal will join in the summer of this year.

Crystal will be succeeding Mohammed Syed, who has been acting as interim CEO of Wealth. Peter Flavel resigned last July, along with NatWest’s group CEO, Alison Rose, following the “de-banking” saga that rocked the reputation of NatWest and Coutts – an episode which prompted politicians to raise alarms about the treatment of clients whose views are deemed to be controversial. It also shed light on how banks segment clients and treat politically exposed persons and figures in the public eye.

Crystal started out in investment banking in 2003 (according to her Linkedin profile) – working at Deutsche Bank – and gained wealth management experience at Credit Suisse, serving in roles including leadership of its Northern and West European wealth arms. At present, she is lead, sustainable finance group, at UBS. 

In her role, Crystal will report to Paul Thwaite CEO NatWest and be a member of the executive committee of NatWest Holdings. She also will sit on the Coutts board in her capacity as Coutts CEO. 

(Editor’s comment: Crystal has a big task to bring the Coutts brand back to where it needs to be after a saga that must have affected its image. Coutts, along with its parent, is due to report full-year 2023 results on 16 February; we will have a chance to see whether the affair hit inflows. Coutts has a superb brand and, to be fair, Crystal’s predecessor did a lot to simplify its offerings and drive results. Experience at European banks, including a spell in the sustainable finance area at UBS, are an interesting mix. She is relatively new to bankingstarting 11 years ago.)

Register for WealthBriefing today

Gain access to regular and exclusive research on the global wealth management sector along with the opportunity to attend industry events such as exclusive invites to Breakfast Briefings and Summits in the major wealth management centres and industry leading awards programmes