Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Boss quits in blow for bank sell-offs

Hopes that the Government may soon be able to sell off its stakes in Royal Bank of Scotland, the owner of Ulster Bank, and Lloyds took a further blow yesterday when the man in charge of managing the holdings abruptly quit.

Jim O'Neil, the chief executive of UK Financial Investments, said he will leave this year to return to Bank of America Merrill Lynch, which he left to take up the UKFI role in 2010.

The Treasury would like to return both banks to full private ownership, however, depressed share prices and the lack of investor trust in the banking sector has made it so far impossible to do.

O'Neil, an equity capital markets expert, may feel there is little point in him lingering at the post given market conditions.

There have been several calls lately for RBS to be broken up rather than reprivatised.

UKFI said that it will recruit a new chief executive to "help execute its mandate from HM Treasury to manage the Government's shareholdings in the banking sector".

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