Until recently, RBS’s global banking and markets (GBM) bankers were the most reviled of its employees. Who else would have the gall to declare a £4m pay package insufficient? Following this week’s publication of the Tomlinson Report, however, GBM bankers have been supplanted at the top of the hate table by people working in RBS’s Global Restructuring Group (GRG – this being a bank that’s big on the acronyms.)
GRG is the RBS unit accused with deliberately driving small businesses into the ground and with ‘taking over loans and behaving with breathtaking arrogance and aggression.” The Financial Times reports today that the group could be subject to a criminal investigation by the serious fraud office.
Who works in GRG? LinkedIn is peppered with the names of people claiming to work in the division now – or in the past. There is no indication that any of them were involved in the allegedly criminal activities now being investigated or that they had direct involvement in any disputed transactions, but it’s notable that many GRG bankers seem to have come via RBS’s GBM business. Most have a background in leveraged finance, private equity and distressed investments. Several have CFA qualifications. One person has gone from GRG at RBS into investment banking at Goldman Sachs, another has gone on to do an MBA at a top UBS business school.
Fundamentally, therefore it looks like GRG is staffed with high-achieving, highly ambitious wholesale banking types. The implication that GRG deliberately distressed otherwise viable businesses in order to extract maximum revenues (and – we suppose for bankers involved to earn higher pay) is another indictment against the culture that can prevail in the City of London.
In the meantime, for anyone interested in working at GRG, RBS’s own website says the unit, ‘takes positive and active management of the Bank’s problem lending portfolio. This involves working with clients facing, or potentially facing, debt challenges.’