The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) was criticised by small investors over mistreatment of firms with distressed finances.
At the firms annual general meeting, the RBS chairman Sir Phillip Hampton defended himself against the personal criticism held against him. He was also grilled about the price the bank has paid for market rigging by shareholders. Not only that, but questions were asked about mis-selling financial products to customers and his response was that the total cost of the misconduct, which is nearly £10 billion, has held back the bank’s recovery from the financial crisis.
The chairman also stated that this behaviour does not belong at RBS and the change in culture will take time. Hampton will not have to deal with the company for much longer as he is standing down at the end of August and will take up the chair at the pharmaceutical giant GSK. Sir Howard Davies is set to replace him at the bank.
Surplus capital that is released by shrinking of the bank may be returned to the shareholders, Hampton said in his seventh statement at the RBS annual meeting. However, this is after reaching a 13% tier one capital reserve and after re-payment to the government. The remaining fee for its support stands at £1.2 billion. Capital reserve is the amount required by regulators to protect against future stocks.
The bank took an injection of over £45 billion in capital, all thanks to the Treasury who took over 80% of the bank because it had to be rescued in 2008. In addition to this, the Chancellor George Osborne plans to start selling the stake this year and will do so in tranches.
The full return of the bank into private hands will take several years but a return to paying shareholder dividends is said to help the process of the stake being sold.