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RBS warns conduct charges may be higher-than-expected

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Royal Bank of Scotland warned future costs relating to litigation and past misconduct could be substantially higher than expected after reporting a third-quarter loss due to restructuring charges.

[LONDON] Royal Bank of Scotland warned future costs relating to litigation and past misconduct could be substantially higher than expected after reporting a third-quarter loss due to restructuring charges.

RBS, 73 per cent owned by the British government, reported a third quarter operating loss of 134 million pounds ($206 million), down from a profit of 1.1 billion the year before, hit by restructuring and misconduct costs. "Whilst legacy issues continue to be addressed, material further and incremental costs and provisions in respect of conduct and litigation related matters are expected, and could be substantially greater than the aggregate provisions RBS has recognised," the bank said in a statement.

RBS has already set aside 4.5 billion pounds to cover regulatory and legal actions, including 2.4 billion for litigation.

The bank is facing a number of probes into past misconduct including an investigation by authorities in the United States into claims it misled investors in mortgage-backed securities and an investigation by Britain's financial regulator into its treatment of struggling small firms.

RBS said attributable profit, including a 1.1 billion pound gain relating to the sale of its US business Citizens, rose by 6 percent to 952 million pounds.

The bank's common equity Tier 1 ratio, a key measure of its financial strength, improved by 40 basis points to 12.7 per cent and RBS said it would improve further to 16.2 per cent following the sale of Citizens. That would make it the most well-capitalised major bank in Britain.

REUTERS