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RBS Said to Plan Announcement on Sale, Closure of Equities Unit This Week

Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (RBS), Britain’s biggest government-owned bank, will this week announce plans to sell or close its global cash equities business, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

The proposal will be unveiled by Chief Executive Officer Stephen Hester and John Hourican, head of the global banking and markets division, according to the person, who asked not be identified before the announcement.

The cash equities division, which employs about 1,200 people and includes the research division, will be shut down if a buyer can’t be found, the person said. RBS has hired Lazard Ltd. (LAZ) to advise it on the sale of parts of the equities unit, including stockbroker Hoare Govett, another person with knowledge of the matter said last week.

Hester has said the investment bank is unsustainable at its current size and the Edinburgh-based bank has shrunk its balance sheet by almost 1 trillion pounds ($1.5 trillion) since he took over from Fred Goodwin in 2008. RBS has cut more than 30,000 jobs since receiving the world’s biggest banking bailout.

Yuk Min Hui, a spokeswoman for RBS in Hong Kong, declined to comment on the plans for the unit. The Times of London reported Jan. 7 that RBS would close the division, citing unidentified people.

To contact the reporter on this story: Angus Whitley in Sydney at awhitley1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Philip Lagerkranser at lagerkranser@bloomberg.net

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