RBS still on track for Williams & Glyn spin-off but new director is delayed

Williams_&_Glyn'sRoyal Bank of Scotland, which today holds its annual general meeting in Edinburgh, has stated that it is still on course to meet the end of year deadline for the sell-off of its Williams & Glyn business, as per the - already revised - conditions of its government bailout.

The assurances were made amid reports that the launch of the siphoned-off branches would have to be pushed back, a move that would required permission from the European Commission, which imposed the necessity for the sell-off at the height of the financial crisis in 2008.

But the bank said it was on track for separation and an initial public offering, with a spokesman for the 80 per cent taxpayer-owned lender saying: “We are moving forward towards an IPO by the end of 2016.”

The original timetable had looked for Williams & Glyn to be spun-out by the end of 2013. The extension to December 2016 was agreed by European authorities last year.

Along with a challenging transfer of IT systems, Williams & Glyn – composed of RBS branches in England and Wales and Natwest sites in Scotland – is meant to have a five per cent share of the small and medium business banking market.

But as customers have switched accounts it is now thought likely the bank will struggle to reach that level and RBS may have to add more branches to the 307 already on the table.

Sir Howard Davies
Sir Howard Davies

Other news ahead of the RBS AGM today centres around incoming chairman Sir Howard Davies.

Plans for former financial regulator to join RBS as a non-executive director at the AGM have been interrupted.

RBS said last night there would be a “short delay” in Davies’ appointment as an independent director until after he publishes his report as chairman of the UK Airports Commission on expanding airport capacity at either Heathrow or Gatwick airports in the south-east of England.

“Accordingly, resolution 8 as set out in our notice of annual general meeting dated 21 May 2015 will be withdrawn,” the bank said yesterday.

Mr Davies is still set to take over as chairman of RBS on 1 September as previously scheduled, the bank said.

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