Financial services firm RBS has said its global equities business, including electronic trade execution services, will be a vital part of its strategy as it looks to rebuild after massive losses and part-nationalisation.
Following the appointment of new chief executive Stephen Hester in November last year, RBS has identified core and non-core business lines and geographies as part of a strategic review. Core investment banking products for the group include cash equities, FX, rates, options, money markets, debt capital markets, equity capital markets and restructuring and advisory.
“The core parts of the business identified in the strategic review are where we will look to grow and strengthen in the future,” Andrew Freyre-Sanders, head of client electronic execution, RBS, told theTRADEnews.com. “Equities and electronic execution are seen as essential to this strategy. Counterparty concerns throughout the market mean business in the equities space is very much up for grabs.”
Freyre-Sanders joined RBS at the start of September 2008, charged with the task of building out the firm’s electronic equities execution strategy. Despite ongoing restructuring and budget restraints, this remains his key focus.
“We are still investing in technology and growing the business,” he says. “Three things I understand to be critical to the global strategy are Asia-Pacific, equities and technology. We are still increasing our client base and the whole electronic trading story continues to move forward.”
In its strategic review, RBS identified non-core geographies where it will resize and sell. According to Freyre-Sanders, RBS will not scale down in any market where it has a big footprint in cash equities. “At the moment, sales under consideration are Pakistan, Philippines and Vietnam, where our operations aren’t as significant as in other areas,” he said.
Freyre-Sanders admits that press coverage of the UK government’s involvement in the restructuring of the bank has detracted from the firm’s strengths going forward. “We were still attracting new business even before the review. Clients have viewed us as stable because of the government funding we have received,” he said.