By Adam Clark
Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (RBS.LN) said Thursday that it is preparing to transfer 13 billion pounds ($16.5 billion) of assets and liabilities to a Dutch subsidiary by early March in case of a disorderly Brexit.
The British lender said it expects around 30% of the customers of its investment banking arm, NatWest Markets, to be transferred to the Dutch unit and will move existing transactions by March 4 if faced with a "immediate loss of access to the European single market."
RBS said it has designed the transfer in a flexible manner so it can respond to any political changes in relation to U.K.'s expected exit from the European Union on March 29. The move underlines the uncertainty facing British businesses in planning for Brexit, as the U.K. leaving the bloc with no trade deal, or entering a transition period, or even continuing as part of the EU all remain potential options.
"During a transition period, the move of non-UK EEA [European Economic Area] customers to NatWest Markets N.V. may be more gradual and subject to further political developments," RBS said.
As a domestic-focused lender, RBS faces less potential disruption from Brexit than many of its peers. Last week, lobby group Frankfurt Main Finance estimated London will lose up to 800 billion euros ($907 billion) in assets by March, with 30 banks and financial firms choosing to set up their new EU headquarters in the German city.
Write to Adam Clark at email@example.com; @AdamDowJones