DBS interested in buying RBS's Coutts: CEO

DBS Group Holdings is interested in buying Coutts International, the non-UK private banking business of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

"We will take a look at Coutts when it comes on the block," said DBS chief executive Piyush Gupta on Friday.

Goldman Sachs has been appointed to handle the sale and he "understands it'll go to market by the end of the year".

Mr Gupta was speaking at a media briefing on the bank's Q3 results.

DBS earlier this month completed the acquisition of Societe Generale Private Banking Asia and the integration process has been very smooth, said Mr Gupta.

That gives him confidence to do another acquisition, he said.

RBS, which also released Q3 results on Friday, said that "following a review of the high net worth business, RBS has decided to exit the international business".

Private Banking UK remains a core business and will not be sold, said RBS.

Coutts' operating profit in Q3 decreased by 9 per cent on quarter to £64 million (S$131 million), principally due to higher restructuring costs. Adjusted operating profit declined by 3 per cent to £71 million.

Client assets and liabilities grew by £0.7 billion in Q3 with increases across all categories, it said. These include growth of £0.2 billion in assets under management to £28.9 billion across the UK and international businesses.

An earlier report said around 40 per cent of clients are in Asia, with the rest in Europe and the Middle East.

State-owned RBS is breaking up the 322-year-old British private bank whose customers include Queen Elizabeth II as it refocuses on the UK and cuts costs to prepare for an IPO.


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