RBS sells Coutts International to UBP

Coutts Image copyright Dwayne Senior

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has sold Coutts International, the overseas arm of the private bank, to Switzerland's Union Bancaire Privee (UBP).

A spokesperson for Coutts International said both parties had agreed not to disclose the price of the deal.

The bank has been owned by RBS since 2000, managing assets of more than $30bn (£20.2bn).

The sale is part of RBS's policy of selling international assets to create a UK-focused bank.

The Financial Times reported that UBP would pay between $600m and $800m for the business.

'Significant milestone'

For Geneva-based private bank UBP, this is its first major deal since it bought Lloyds Banking Group's international private banking arm in May 2013.

UBP's assets almost halved during the financial crisis.

UBP's chief executive said in a statement: "This acquisition confirms our commitment in further developing our wealth management business and represents a significant milestone in our growth strategy."

RBS will keep Coutts' UK arm, which has the British royal family amongst its customers.

"Last year we set out a clear strategy to create a truly UK-focused bank," said Alison Rose, chief executive of RBS's commercial and private banking unit.

"This announcement is another important step in that process. Following an extensive review, it was clear that the bank we are building would not be the most appropriate owner of the business being sold."

Earlier this week, RBS cut its stake in its US bank Citizens to less than half in deal that raised gross proceeds of $3.2bn.

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