Bank disposals

NatWest in talks over Adam & Co sale and exiting Ireland

Adam & Co took its name from the Scottish economist Adam Smith

NatWest (RBS) is understood to be in talks to sell Edinburgh-based Adam & Co, one of its private banking subsidiaries, and expected to confirm that it is pulling out of the Irish Republic.

Evercore, the investment bank, is said to be working with NatWest to consolidate Adam & Co’s lending book with Coutts, its main wealth management business.

There are thought to be a number of potential buyers of Adam & Co, which, according to Sky News, could fetch up to £50m. Among the private banking and wealth management firms who may be interested are Edinburgh rival Hampden & Co – though the price tag may be beyond its reach – Rathbones and Brown Shipley.

Adam & Co was set up in Edinburgh in 1983 but had to be rescued in 1993, a year after it made a disastrous multimillion pound foreign exchange trading loss.

The talks are the latest indication of group CEO Alison Rose’s intention to reshape NatWest after controversially sidelining the historic Royal Bank of Scotland name.

The bank, which remains majority-owned by the UK government, is also expected to announce that it is winding down Ulster Bank’s operations in Ireland where it has had a presence for 160 years.

According to reports in the Irish media Goldman Sachs, which has been advising NatWest on its strategic review into Ulster Bank’s future, is engaged with a number of parties interested in elements of the loan book, including AIB, Permanent TSB and Irish non-bank lender Dilosk.

It is expected to update investors when it reports annual results on Friday.

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