NatWest Markets Plans to Shut Madrid Branch, Shrink Milan Office

NatWest Group Plc’s securities unit is planning to close its branch in Madrid and scale back its Milan operations as the British lender continues a multi-year effort to shrink its investment bank.

The proposed reductions, which are subject to employee consultations, are focused on streamlining Natwest Markets’s corporate offering to a smaller number of European offices, people familiar with the matter said, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren’t public.

The job cuts involve more than a dozen people working in Milan and Madrid out of a combined total of about 30, two of the people said. Milan’s team servicing financial institutions is expected to remain in place while the remaining Spanish employees may move to Paris.

“At this stage there is a proposal to close our Madrid branch and this is currently subject to ongoing consultation with employee representatives,” a spokesperson for NatWest Markets said. “The proposal does not impact our customer plans as we intend to cover the Iberian customers from one of our other branches across Europe, as other financial institutions do.”

Alison Rose has been reshaping NatWest Markets since becoming the bank’s chief executive office in 2019, continuing her predecessor Ross McEwan’s retreat from investment banking in the wake of the group’s government rescue in the 2008 financial crisis. The securities unit has faced heavy cuts, with its assets falling by 40% over 2020 to 26.4 billion pounds ($37 billion).

The bank, which have already downsized its corporate activity in the two countries over the last year, will likely move residual clients to its hubs in Paris or Frankfurt, two of the people said.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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