RBS Trading Head Nielsen Said to Exit as His Business Shrinks

  • Departure comes as CEO Ross McEwan shrinks the securities unit
  • Nielsen said set to leave the bank after more than two decades

Peter Nielsen, who rose up through Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc to run the trading business that the lender is now shrinking, is leaving after more than two decades at the company, said a person with knowledge of the matter.

The former global head of markets will leave the Edinburgh-based bank in the summer, said the person, who asked not to be identified because his departure hasn’t been announced publicly. He is currently on gardening leave after helping to reshape the securities unit as it exits 25 countries and RBS focuses on consumer and commercial lending in the U.K. and Ireland, the person added. Nielsen didn’t return messages by telephone and e-mail.

Nielsen was one of the last senior RBS investment bankers to remain with the lender after its 45.5 billion-pound ($65 billion) bailout by the British government at the height of the financial crisis. His departure comes as Chief Executive Officer Ross McEwan seeks to cut costs and shrink risk-weighted assets at the investment bank to about 30 billion pounds by 2019 from 107 billion pounds in 2014.

A former trader who oversaw interest rates, local markets, currencies and commodities in the run-up to the crisis under former CEO Fred Goodwin, Nielsen told British lawmakers in 2013 that he discussed resigning from the bank in the wake of the Libor scandal that cost RBS $612 million in fines from U.K. and U.S. authorities. Former investment bank chief John Hourican persuaded him to stay, telling lawmakers at the same hearing the bank would “be better serving all stakeholders were he to remain.”

Nielsen’s departure will follow other senior RBS investment bankers such as Bob McKillip and Michael Lyublinsky. The securities unit is now run jointly by Chris Marks, who oversees the parts of the business RBS wants to keep, and Mark Bailie, who is winding down or selling large chunks of the operation.