State-backed NatWest in talks to sell private bank Adam & Co

·1-min read

The taxpayer-backed lender NatWest is in talks to offload Adam & Co, one of its private banking subsidiaries, nearly three decades after helping to rescue it from collapse.

Sky News has learnt that NatWest is working with Evercore, the investment bank, to help divest the bulk of Adam & Co's operations.

City sources said on Wednesday that Adam & Co's lending book would be folded into Coutts, NatWest's main wealth management operation.

A number of industry players are said to be battling to acquire the rest of the business amid expectations that it could fetch up to £50m.

Although small in the context of NatWest, the sale discussions underline new chief executive Alison Rose's intention to reshape NatWest - which until recently was called Royal Bank of Scotland.

The group, which remains majority-owned by the government, will report annual results later this week which underline the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on its balance sheet.

Sky News revealed earlier this month that the bank would slash its staff bonus pool to around £200m, by far the lowest figure since RBS was rescued by the Treasury in 2008.

RBS itself played a role in salvaging Adam & Co's future in 1993, a year after it made a disastrous multimillion pound foreign exchange trading loss.

The private bank - named after the renowned Scottish economist Adam Smith - was established in Edinburgh in 1984 by a group of prominent Scottish business figures.

A NatWest spokeswoman declined to comment.