LONDON – RBS will set up a new European headquarters in the Netherlands as part of a contingency plan to deal with a hard Brexit, the firm said in a statement to investors on Friday.
The bank said it would use an existing licence to operate in Amsterdam to ensure that its investment banking and markets businesses still have access to the European Union single market after the UK leaves the bloc.
“NatWest Markets has reviewed ways to minimise disruption to the business and continue to serve its customers well in the event of any loss of EU passporting,” RBS said.
“Should the outcome of the current EU separation negotiations make it necessary, NatWest Markets is ensuring our existing RBS N.V. banking licence in the Netherlands is operationally ready.”
RBS, which is 71% owned by the UK government, stormed to a second quarter profit of £680 million – almost double analysts’ forecasts. Revenue grew to £3.6 billion, up from £2.7 billion in the same period last year.
Ewen Stevenson, RBS chief financial officer, told Bloomberg TV: “We are in advanced discussions with the Dutch national bank about setting up a small European headquarters in Amsterdam. Very, very logical market for us. We’ve got a bank there. It’s got the right licenses for us.”
The BBC’s business editor reported that around 150 jobs would move from the UK to the continent:
RBS chooses Amsterdam. In talks about using existing licence for European biz post brexit. Circa 150 jobs. Makes 1st H1 profit in 3 yrs.
— Simon Jack (@BBCSimonJack) August 4, 2017
Banks are setting up offices across Europe in preparation for Britain leaving the EU single market and customs union. EU passporting rights currently allow financial services companies to “passport” their products and services to countries in the 28-member bloc. A loss of this right after Brexit would require banks to sell products and services from EU-based subsidiaries.