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UK said to pick Goldman to replace JPMorgan for RBS sale

[LONDON] The UK government hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc to replace JPMorgan Chase & Co as its adviser for selling shares in Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and Lloyds Banking Group Plc, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

Goldman Sachs will act as privatisation-strategy advisor to UK Financial Investments Ltd, which manages the taxpayer's stakes in bailed-out lenders, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the details are private.

Chancellor George Osborne has said he'll start returning RBS to private ownership in the coming months, even though it may cause a loss for UK taxpayers. He's extended a trading plan to sell shares in Lloyds to the end of December, helping to cut the government's stake for a profit.

Taxpayers own about 79 per cent of Edinburgh-based RBS and 18 percent of Lloyds.

JPMorgan, led by Jamie Dimon, was hired in 2013 and UKFI said at the time it would review the appointment on a "periodic basis, as appropriate, with the expectation that different firms may be used in this role in the future." A spokesman for JPMorgan wasn't able to comment. Sky News reported the story earlier.

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The hiring of Goldman Sachs comes as the bank bids for 13 billion pounds (US$20.6 billion) of mortgages being sold by UK Asset Resolution Ltd, a unit of UKFI that manages stakes in nationalized banks Bradford & Bingley Plc and Northern Rock Plc. Goldman Sachs is bidding with Blackstone Group LP, Och-Ziff Capital Management and TPG, people with knowledge of the matter have said.

JPMorgan bought 2.7 billion pounds of mortgages from UKAR in October.


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