Banking Crisis

Exclusive: Coutts' Overhaul Will Not Impact The Asia Business

Tara Loader Wilkinson Asia Editor Hong Kong 16 January 2012

Exclusive: Coutts' Overhaul Will Not Impact The Asia Business

The Asian business of UK private bank Coutts, which employs 460 employees, will be unscathed by the radical overhaul announced by parent Royal Bank of Scotland.

The Asian division of Coutts will be unscathed by the radical overhaul announced by the UK private bank yesterday, WealthBriefingAsia has learned.

It is understood that between 80 and 100 roles may be reduced by Coutts following an extensive consultation period with staff and as part of a structural overhaul, but these will affect the UK business. Coutts employs a total of around 5,000 staff worldwide.

The 460 Coutts employees based in Hong Kong and Singapore will retain their jobs, a spokesperson for the bank confirmed, implying that servicing wealthy clients in the high-growth region continues to be a lucrative business. 

The structural changes announced yesterday by Coutts represent the next step in the plans for change as outlined last March by Rory Tapner, head of RBS’ wealth division, and follows the UK senior management restructure that took place in September.

Under the new business model, Coutts will place greater emphasis on its wealth management proposition in line with client demand and the forthcoming changes driven by the Retail Distribution Review, a programme of reforms to the UK financial advice industry.

"What we’ve done today is announce the creation of new wealth manager roles which will complement the private banker and other specialist roles, and will enable us to focus our resources on growing new relationships and extending existing ones,” said Michael Morley, chief executive of Coutts.

Meanwhile, parent company the Royal Bank of Scotland announced yesterday it will axe up to 3,500 jobs over the next three years in its global banking and markets business, and is exploring sale options for its cash equities, corporate broking, equity capital markets and M&A businesses.

The spokesperson for RBS could not confirm how RBS’ banking business in Asia would be affected, but a source close to the situation said the proportion of cuts in Asia would be small – “maybe a couple of dozen."

In Asia RBS has around 3,500 people in total across all of global banking and markets and global transaction services businesses and the private bank.

To view a recent article about Coutts Private Office, click here. To read this publication’s interview with Tapner, at RBS, click here.

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