RBS names Sir Howard Davies chairman and reports £3.5bn loss

 
Guy Bentley
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RBS names new chairman (Source: Getty)

The figures

RBS has reported a full-year attributable loss of £3.5bn thanks largely to one-off items including a £4bn fair-value adjustment. The bank has also named Sir Howard Davies as its new chairman, succeeding Philip Hampton who will step down with effect from 31 August. RBS's operating profit also came to £3.5bn. The bank's Common Equity Tier 1 ratio came to 11.2 per cent - up from 8.6 per cent in 2013.

Why it's interesting

Davies has experienced something of a rebound since he quit the London School of Economics (LSE) four years ago following an "error of judgement" over the university's relationship with the Libyan government. He's since been put in charge of the commission that will recommend whether the government should give the go-ahead for a third runway at Heathrow.

He has considerable experience in the world of finance, but on the regulatory side after having served six years as head of the Financial Services Authority - which gives some indication as to why he was given the top job at RBS, which, like other banks, has had its fair share of regulatory blunders over the past few years.

RBS, which is still 81 per cent owned by the taxpayer, has rarely been far from controversy over the past few years. Yesterday, the bank suspended two more employees amid an investigation into the rigging of foreign exchange markets. Over 50 former and current employees have been put under investigation in the FX scandal.

Last night, the bank's chief executive Ross McEwan said he would forego a £1m share reward. McEwan said he didn't want the role based incentive to "be a distraction from the task of building a great bank".

Though RBS shares dipped slightly yesterday, they have been edging up over the course of the last few weeks. Last year, RBS reported losses before tax of £8.2bn.

What RBS said

Commenting on his appointment, Davies said:

I am delighted to be joining the Board and look forward to leading the bank through the next phase of its journey. RBS occupies a unique position and I will take over the reins from Philip at an exciting time and am grateful to him for the stewardship he has provided to RBS.

Ross McEwan has set out a very clear strategy to create the number one bank in the UK for trust, customer service and advocacy. I look forward to working closely with him in order to achieve that ambition.

In short

RBS has undergone a significant restructuring since its bailout several years ago and is much slimmer outfit thanks to a host of reforms. RBS will exit a further 25 countries, bringing the total number down to 13. However, it still faces heavy litigation costs and a long road ahead to full recovery.

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