RBS to shift £13bn of business to Netherlands in event of disorderly Brexit

Royal Bank of Scotland is to shift £13 billion worth of business to the Netherlands if the UK crashes out of the European Union with no deal.

About 30% of the customers for its investment banking unit, NatWest Markets, will move to the lender’s new Dutch subsidiary as well as existing transactions by March 4 in the event of a disorderly Brexit.

This means around £6 billion of third-party assets and up to £7 billion of liabilities will be transferred in the event of an “immediate loss of access to the European single market”.

The state-controlled bank said if Britain reaches a deal with the EU the transfer would be more measured.

“During a transition period, the move of non-UK EEA (European Economic Area) customers to NatWest Markets NV may be more gradual and subject to further political developments,” it said.

Britain is expected to leave the EU on March 29, but businesses have grown nervous around the uncertainty surrounding Britain’s departure from the bloc.

MPs are set to vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s EU Withdrawal Agreement on December 11, but this could be voted down and the country could leave the EU without a deal or a transition period.

A disorderly Brexit could see banks lose passporting rights that allow direct access to clients in the EU.

The news follows reports that 800 billion euros (£711 billion) of assets are to move to Frankfurt in preparation for Brexit.

Frankfurt Main Finance, the German city’s lobby group, previously said 30 out of 37 financial institutions which have applied to the European Central Bank for new licences, or to extend existing ones, have chosen Frankfurt for their European headquarters.

Meanwhile, several London-based banks have indicated they will shift jobs to Frankfurt or other financial hubs in Paris and Dublin, which are also vying to take some of London’s business.