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Court application lodged

RBS steps up Brexit plan to switch assets to Amsterdam

Ross McEwan

Ross McEwan: cost of switch in ‘low tens of millions’ (pic: Terry Murden)


Royal Bank of Scotland has stepped up its “No Deal” Brexit plans by lodging an application at Scotland’s supreme civil court to transfer European clients of its NatWest Market business to its Dutch subsidiary.

The move would allow RBS to switch about 30% of investment bank customers out of the UK – about 20% of its revenues – to ensure its European business was not impacted by the loss of any “passporting” rights which allow for smooth transactions between nations.

It will also shift around £6 billion worth of client assets and £7bn in liabilities from its UK business to its new EU hub.

Should the UK pull together some sort of deal then the bank said the shift of business may be “more gradual”.

The bank announced its plan to relocate about 150 jobs from London to the Dutch city in August last year so that its NatWest Markets business – the rump of its once mighty investment bank – can continue operating throughout the EU after Brexit. Relocation would cost “in the low tens of millions”, said chief executive Ross McEwan at the time.

Amsterdam will serve as the bank’s EU hub, RBS will also service clients out of Dublin, Frankfurt, Madrid, Milan, Paris and Stockholm.

Scottish Liberal Democrat Leader Willie Rennie said: “RBS’ warning is steady confirmation that Scotland would lose billions in banking business within just days of Article 50 being triggered, and this is only one company in one industry.”

However, it is unlikely that the bank’s move will have any significant impact on Scotland as this work is focused on its London operations.

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