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Sun 20 Jul 2014 02:54 PM

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Coutts said to consider selling overseas operations

Wealth division of the Royal Bank of Scotland has offices in Qatar and the UAE

Coutts said to consider selling overseas operations

Coutts, the wealth division of UK lender the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, is considering selling its overseas operations, which includes offices in the Middle East.

Founded 1692 and said to include Queen Elizabeth II among its wealthy clientele, Coutt’s is reportedly set to be integrated into RBS’s UK commercial operations and its international operations sold off as part a widespread strategic overhaul, the Financial Times reported.

An RBS spokesperson was quoted as saying: “We announced in February that Coutts will sit within our commercial and private banking division, where we can better connect it with the successful entrepreneurs and growth businesses who are creating wealth.

“As part of the transition and integration of this business, we have been reviewing our private banking business so that it works for the benefit of our customers.”

Coutts currently has overseas offices based in Hong Kong, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, Dubai, Geneva, Zurich and Monaco.

The results of the strategic overview are expected to be made public in September, the FT report said.

A Coutts spokesperson declined to comment when contacted by Arabian Business.

The move comes as a surprise as in October last year Coutts announced the creation of an advisory board to help shape the company's expansion plans in the region.

The company said in a statement at the time that the Middle East board will help to "broaden and shape Coutts' ambitious plans", adding that it will aid "hiring and driving financial performance by strengthening client relationships".

Coutts has been present in the Middle East for many years and opened its first representative office in the UAE in Dubai 14 years ago.

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therealist 5 years ago

Coutts came to Dubai in 1999 and has changed the Dubai CEO - with precision - almost every 2 years. They even created an NRI division about 4 years ago and spent millions. However, Private banks do not make profits any more due to high salaries and low revenues. Some are operating at costs that are at over 100% of revenues and most are between 70% to 90%.

With head offices in trouble with bail outs and now owned by Govt of UK, all British banks are closing operations which may even be profitable, however small, because the UK tax payer cannot be responsible for overseas customers any more.

So ....adios to private banks from around the world and back to home base!

Nathalie Brown 5 years ago

I could not agree more with the realist.

I was once a happy client with Coutts for 7 years in the UAE until they decided to dump UK expats and chase the the Ultra High Net Worth market.

I understand the last CEO has recently left after a brief, unsuccessful and expensive attempt at expanding their business.

I also witnessed the lavish spending of this bank at several 'so called' client events. This is no way for a bank to operate especially when they are owned by the UK Taxpayer, how ironic.