Natwest Cuts off 75 Trading Clients in Retreat From Markets

NatWest Group Plc has told about 75 clients it will cut off their trading services from January as it continues to restructure its markets business.

The British bank’s securities unit will no longer provide foreign exchange, interest rate and debt capital market services to certain retail and professional clients who have not traded with the bank for at least two years, people with knowledge of the matter said.

“NatWest Markets regularly reviews its business activities to ensure we are working as efficiently and effectively as possible,” the bank said in an emailed statement.

Alison Rose has been reshaping the division since becoming the bank’s CEO a year ago, continuing her predecessor Ross McEwan’s retreat from investment banking in the wake of the group’s government rescue in the 2008 financial crisis.

Stable Returns

NatWest and rivals including Lloyds Banking Group Plc have shifted focus back to domestic, mostly retail clients as they seek more stable returns. That contrasts with Barclays Plc, which found itself relying more on its investment bank in recent quarters to offset the drag from ultra-low interest rates and stubbornly high costs.

Banks around the world are overhauling their businesses as the pandemic adds further pressure to business models upended by the digital revolution. Last week, ABN Amro Bank NV announced it was cutting about 2,800 jobs under a plan to slim down its investment bank.

Rose said on the bank’s earnings call in October that NatWest was “making good progress” on its overhaul and running ahead of schedule to reduce risk-weighted assets by half. This year, the bank stopped trading distressed and emerging markets credit and made changes to its rates business. The Edinburgh-based lender has also cut jobs at its capital markets, trading and customer sales teams.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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