RBC buys Coutts units from Royal Bank of Scotland

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) will buy some overseas divisions of the Coutts private banking business from Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), giving RBC access to high net worth individuals in fast-growing emerging markets.

Canada's largest bank is buying Coutts' Latin American, Caribbean and African private banking arms, which managed around £1.5bn of assets, in line with RBC's long-lived promise to build its global wealth management business.

"This business represents an excellent opportunity to increase our market share with high net worth and ultra high net worth clients in key high growth markets, while delivering very attractive returns," said George Lewis, group head, RBC Wealth Management, in a statement.

For RBS, which is 82 per cent owned by the British government, the sale forms part of its program of selling noncore assets to focus more on its core UK retail banking business.

RBS said the sale was in line with Coutts' strategy to focus on key markets such as the UK, Switzerland, Russia, the Middle East and Asia.