RBS returns Qatar banking licence, country head departs


Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has closed its branch in Qatar with its country head departing, RBS told Reuters on Thursday, the latest step in its withdrawal from the Middle East.

AFP informed yesterday 30 April 2015 that the Royal Bank of Scotland said on Thursday it sank into a first-quarter net loss on vast provisions for restructuring and legacy costs linked to its past conduct.

RBS, about 80% owned by the UK government after a 2008 bailout, said losses after taxation stood at £446 million ($688 million, 619 million Euros) in the three months to the end of March.

In the Middle East, Qatar has been one of the bank’s more active markets in recent years, with RBS acting as financial adviser for Qatar Petroleum on major energy projects as well as coordinator for Ooredoo, on a $1 billion bond issue in 2013.

But RBS, is shrinking its corporate and institutional banking business in the Middle East, Africa and parts of Europe and Asia to refocus on its home market.

The bank returned its local licence to the Qatar Financial Centre Regulatory Authority on March 25, the authority said in a statement.  An RBS spokeswoman confirmed the branch closure.

RBS had held the licence since 2007, offering markets and international banking services.  Management of its existing exposure in Qatar would still be handled in London, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Back on 25 March, Qatar’s Financial Regulator has reprimanded Royal Bank of Scotland for insufficient training of its branch staff, saying in a statement :

“Although RBS QFC had a programme in place, it was deficient in a number of material respects and it fell short of the standards expected of authorised firms.”

Sources :

  1. Reuters http://uk.reuters.com/
  2. AFP http://www.afp.com/en/home/