Scotland business

RBS boss Ross McEwan says Brexit vote 'could delay sale'

Ross McEwan Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr McEwan said the Brexit vote had been "a real hit to the bank"

The head of RBS has warned that the sale of the UK government's stake in the bank could be delayed for at least two more years by the Brexit vote.

Chief executive Ross McEwan said the vote had been "a real hit to the bank" and would affect the government's sale of its remaining shares in the bank.

He said: "This will be a setback, let's be honest. I think at least a couple of years it will be pushed back."

RBS is still 73% owned by taxpayers after being bailed out eight years ago.

Speaking to LBC radio in London, Mr McEwan also reiterated that RBS would move its registered headquarters from Edinburgh, if Scotland votes to leave the UK in a second independence referendum.

But he added that it was effectively about "moving the plaque rather than any of our people".

RBS currently has 12,000 staff working north of the border.

'Ready with plans'

After last month's EU referendum, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said a second independence vote was "highly likely".

Mr McEwan said it would be "interesting to see what Scotland do".

He said: "We'll work with the government up there. We've already had conversations with them about how you create certainty in these times. And we will be positioned to look after customers no matter what happens."

Mr McEwan said if Scotland was to vote for independence, there would have to be a split of the bank between customers in Scotland and those with its NatWest brand in the rest of the UK.

He indicated that the bank would be "ready with plans" should another independence referendum take place.

Mr McEwan said before the first referendum in 2014 that RBS would relocate its registered headquarters to London if Scotland voted to leave the UK.

He also said there was no intention to move operations or jobs.

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