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Morning Coffee: Top traders leave RBS as it becomes apparent that new CEO will know little about investment banking

Running away from the new retail banking CEO

Running away from the new retail banking CEO

Ever since Stephen Hester announced his departure in June, RBS has been in limbo wondering who will replace him. Now, it seems that headhunter Anna Mann and her team have done their stuff. According to the Telegraph, a new RBS CEO could be announced as early as next week.

So far, so good. Less good – from an RBS investment banker’s point of view – is the fact that none of the names touted as a replacement for Hester seems to know much at all about investment banking.

Top of the list of external candidates was reportedly Mark McCombe, head of Asian operations at BlackRock, the fund management firm. A fitness fanatic who believes that everyone in his team should ‘take part in a lot of sport,’ McCombe previously spent 20 years at HSBC, which isn’t known for being a go-getting investment bank. There, he specialized in private banking and asset management. Despite being Mann’s alleged favourite external candidate, McCombe is said to have turned down the RBS CEO role anyway.

With McCombe out of the running, second in Mann’s list of favoured external candidates is reportedly David Roberts, deputy chairman at Lloyds, who’s spent a long time working at Barclays – in retail and commercial banking roles. The closest Roberts has come to investment banking seems to be asset financing.

If Roberts doesn’t get the top RBS job, there are also a few internal candidates. They include: Ross McEwan, head of the retail bank, Bruce van Saun, RBS’s finance director, and Chris Sullivan, head of the corporate bank. There are no investment bankers anywhere near the list. Worse, McEwan – the retail banker – is said to be the favourite.

In the circumstances, RBS’s senior traders seem to be reading the writing on the wall. Financial News points out that many are leaving. Ian Hale, deputy head of inflation trading, resigned last week and has nipped off to Citigroup. Other resignations include Mark Olson, the head of high yield research who went to Morgan Stanley, or Adrian Pegg, a distressed trader who went to Bank of America Merrill Lynch. If McEwan is appointed CEO of RBS next week, there be many more such trader departures from RBS to come.

Meanwhile:

Since its 45.5 billion-pound ($69.9 billion) rescue, RBS has shrunk assets by almost half, posted five consecutive years of annual losses and still trades below the price the government says it needs to break even. (The Times)

Oriel Securities has removed 26% of its registered staff since November 2012. (Financial News) 

Deutsche Bank has combined its investment grade debt and asset backed trading desks in London. 3 traders have left, including Vassilis Paschopoulos, the former head of European investment-grade bond trading. (Bloomberg) 

You’re a lot more likely to go to a top university if your parents are rich. You’re a lot more likely to go to university if you’re Asian. (The Times) 

Singapore is a huge wealth management centre, rivaling Switzerland, but the cost of running a business there is prohibitively high. (Financial Times) 

15 most unlikely names for the Royal baby, including: Dodi. (HereistheCity)

“It’s an irresistible mix for some women; this idea of bankers as rich and evil bad boys.” (Guardian) 

 

Comments (1)

Comments
  1. that guy, the one talking all big about his job and banking in general, is a relic from a bygone era… and he got fired. smart kids are not in banking anymore…

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