RBS

  • 03 Feb 2012 at 2:52 PM

RBS Chairman: Bonus Backlash Came Out Of Nowhere

The Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC’s chairman on Friday acknowledged that the bank had miscalculated the public and political reaction to the £963,000 (around $1.5 million) bonus in shares awarded to Chief Executive Stephen Hester, who subsequently turned down the payment…”We knew it would be a difficult reaction, but the speed and scale of it took us by surprise,” Mr. Hampton said in a briefing with reporters. [WSJ]

  • 31 Jan 2012 at 7:02 PM

Fred Goodwin Has Seen Better Days

The past couple years have not been what one might characterize as the best of times for former RBS CEO Fred Goodwin. After retiring from his post in November 2008, he missed out on helping the bank collect the award for biggest loss in British corporate history (£24.1 billion for the year), the windshield of his Mercedes-Benz S600 was smashed by a bunch of hoodlums, a brick was thrown through his window, and the banging of an underling came to light. He’s also had quite a bit of trouble getting a new gig on account of being “overqualified.” No, he’s had it pretty rough but the one thing that kept him going? That made life slightly more bearable? That kept him warm at night? The fact that he could look himself in the mirror and see an official Knight looking back. “Fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke [vis-à-vis bombing a bank from the inside],” he’d say to himself. “One of us is a Knight and the other? Not so much.” When the neighborhood kids would throw shit throw shit at his house and spray paint “royal bum” on his front walk, he could at least comfort himself by muttering, “That’s Sir Royal Bum to you, thanks very much.” And now? He can’t even do that. Read more »

The Queen did want to acknowledge all the work he’s done, though, so she threw the government worker a bone he can collect a few years from now. Read more »

  • 12 Jan 2012 at 10:46 AM

RBS Feels Bad About Its Firings

Remember, back in late December, when RBS sent out a holiday card to employees telling them to buck up, because, contrary to what everyone had heard, management would not be taking a “knee-jerk approach” to laying off employees, but rather thoughtfully “re-examining business strategy and resource deployment” and hey, maybe they wouldn’t end up firing that many people at all? Well, they thought about it, and here’s what they came up with: Read more »

  • 11 Jan 2012 at 1:54 PM

Layoffs Watch ’11: RBS

The bank will apparently be offering a few more details on the cuts management has been mulling over since since the third quarter of last year. Read more »

  • 21 Dec 2011 at 11:29 AM
  • Banks

RBS Not Taking A “Knee-Jerk” Approach To Laying Off Employees

Earlier this week, it was reported that RBS would be taking the next couple months to decide which businesses it wants to “remain in” and which it doesn’t. Management was said to be considering “shutting or selling” its equities unit and, as these things go, laying off the 1,000 people it employs, as well as others who may find themselves working in a division the royalest bank isn’t so keen on anymore. As humans tend not to look on the bright side of potentially getting fired, the staff has been in a bit of a funk lately. Hearing the team needed some frowns turned upside down, Global Banking & Markets CEO John Hourican sent out a memo this morning attempting to do just that, by noting 1) that everything everyone’s read about layoffs and the closing of entire business units is true, but that all that was communicated, like, a couple months ago, so let’s not act like it’s coming as a shock 2) everyone in finance is making tough choices right now 3) obviously, though, we’ve had our teeth kicked in harder than most 4) contrary to popular belief, we’re not just putting your names in a hat and deciding who gets fired from there 5) Happy holidays. Do something nice for yourself, you deserve it. Read more »

  • 13 Dec 2011 at 2:07 PM

Layoffs Watch ’11: RBS

Nothing official yet but apparently various people’s contributions to the firm (or lack thereof) are being weighed. Read more »

Sometimes when we say that a financial report is a fun read we mean “in a nerdy, full of charts way,” but the British Financial Services Agency report on the implosion of RBS is actually quite full of bitchy gossip, though also 450 pages long so possibly not holiday-travel plane reading. Let the Guardian fill in the brackets:

Johnny Cameron, the former head of Royal Bank of Scotland’s investment banking division, has admitted he did not know how billions of pounds of complex loan structures linked to US sub-prime mortgages worked – despite pushing his staff to expand aggressively into this area. …

Cameron told the FSA: “I don’t think, even at that point [May 2007, well after sub-prime problems had begun to spiral in the US] … I had enough information. Brian [Crowe, his deputy] may have thought I understood more than I did … And it’s around this time that I became clearer on what CDOs [collateralised debt obligations] were.”

The dynamic here is kind of fun to picture: Cameron is a traditional corporate banker, used to glad-handing clients and sounding smart, in the senior role. Crowe is the harder-charging guy from a trading background. The report quotes a subordinate as saying “Johnny was the bigger thinker, more customer involvement. Brian was more focused on the markets and market risks.” You can imagine Crowe saying things like “Gaussian copula” and “DV01″ and “CDO,” and Cameron mumbling “yes, precisely so, I agree completely, more tea my good chap?” I’m pretty sure “Brian may have thought I understood more than I did” because Cameron wouldn’t dream of correcting him. Read more »