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Coutts CEO To Steer NatWest Wealth Consolidation

Jackie Bennion, Deputy Editor, 14 August 2020

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The UK-based bank is bringing its broad stable of wealth and banking divisions under the watch of Coutts CEO Peter Flavel.

Announced as a strategic move that will see NatWest strengthen its affluent, high net worth and ultra-HNW customer base, the UK-listed bank is putting private banking chief Peter Flavel in charge of a new consolidated wealth offering.

Flavel will run a combined service that will bring together Coutts, Adam & Company, Holt’s,  Drummonds and PCAIS with NatWest's Premier Banking and Premier 24.

The new proposition will see some changes to private banking but all parties will continue to report to Peter Flavel, the bank said, announcing the move this morning.

Part of the deal will see Dylan Williams become head of affluent to build new capabilities for existing premier customers and help drive growth, the group said. NatWest said the new proposition should also help “address the UK savings gap”, which is forecast to reach £350 billion by 2050. Williams is expected to make this a priority of his new role.

“Combining the collective expertise and resources of our premier banking and private banking teams will bring a more targeted focus on the wider NatWest Group’s affluent customer-base,” Flavel said.

The combined services will include day-to-day banking, savings, lending, financial planning and investment. Asset management will also be part of the new proposition and will be responsible across the group for driving AuM growth in all client segments. Flavel said Coutts' expertise will be at the heart of this.

The bank also said the restructuring will allow it to focus on the changing financial requirements of customers through each stage of their life.

“This means delivering excellent day-to-day banking, competitive and flexible savings and lending services together with building our investment AuMs through both our digital and face-to-face client propositions," Flavel added.

“Ultimately, as a purposeful business. we want to do all we can for existing clients whilst also address the UK savings gap. To achieve both we must build a strategy that delivers not just on competitive day-to-day banking, but helps customers pay down household debt as soon as is practical and builds longer-term investments through ISA’s, pensions and general investment account balances."

(Editor's note: With Schroders and Lloyds Banking Group's wealth joint venture launched two years ago, Julius Baer pushing into the regions, Barclays still very much a contender and other firms angling to have a slice of the pie, this latest move highlights the competitive pressures to dominate the mass-affluent/HNW space while being able to offer the kind of high-touch service ultra-HNW clients need. HSBC recently reorganised its private banking, retail and wealth arms. Deutsche Bank has reshaped part of its wealth business. A lot of change is happening - the test is whether revenues and return on equity for these groups improve over time. And these changes are being implemented when firms are having to cope with remote working, social distancing and dramatic increase in the speed of digital channels. Interesting times.)

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