Royal Bank of Scotland Group (LON:RBS) has taken legal precautions against the threat of a second Scottish independence referendum, The Sunday Times has revealed. The news comes after the bailed-out lender updated investors on its second-quarter performance on Friday, revealing that it had returned to profit.
RBS’ share price has advanced in London in mid-morning trade, having added about 0.8 percent and outperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing about 0.2 percent higher. The group’s shares have added more than 48 percent to their value over the past year, and are up by some 17 percent in the year-to-date.
The Sunday Times reported yesterday that RBS was shifting its Scottish customers into a separate subsidiary, operating under the licence historically ascribed to its Adam & Co private banking business. The legal move is said to be intended to leave the bailed-out lender better able to cope with any decision to separate Scotland from the UK. The lender’s plans come with Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon having called for a second independence referendum to be held in the autumn of next year or spring 2019.
The report comes after news emerged last week that RBS was also considering moving some operations to Amsterdam after Britain leaves the European Union. The blue-chip company already has a licence to operate in the Netherlands, which is a legacy of its purchase of the Dutch bank ABN Amro in 2007.
RBS updated investors on its first-half performance on Friday, revealing that it had made an attributable profit of £680 million in the second quarter of the year, as compared with a £1.01-billion loss in the prior-year period. Investec’s Ian Gordon hailed the results, but maintained its ‘hold’ stance on the shares. Sharecast quoted the analyst as cautioning that RBS ‘very much’ continued to be multi-year recovery story, while admitting that the bank had ‘travelled well’ into the results.