Royal Bank of Scotland Group (The) PLC ADR RBS
Q1 2012 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 05/04/2012

Operator: Ladies and gentlemen today's conference call will be hosted by Steve Hester, Group Chief Executive of RBS.

Stephen Hester - Group Chief Executive: Good morning everyone, thank you for joining us for our First Quarter Review Call, Bruce is with me as usual and we'll counter through the results that we put out this morning and then obviously, spend as much time as you would like on trying to answer your questions.

I think from me by way of introduction, I would say that I'm happy with progress in the first quarter although, of course, cognizant will take place against a challenging economic backdrop. I think that when we analyzed the two jobs that we're trying to do, we're showing some good progress in both. The job of fixing the past, I think is showing really excellent progress. Anyway you kind of look at reduction Non-Core assets, improvement in liquidity stats, improvement in capital ratios, things really going actually in the right direction.

A couple of milestones of themselves not economically significant, but I think symbolically significant of our march back to normality, if I can put it that way. We've announced the resumption of coupons in our hybrid capital today, and next week we finish paying off all of the central bank liquidity support that we received from whatever source during the crisis, which was a large amount of money. So, I think that's symbolically important and you know about the share consolidation which again is a symbol of trying to look forward and not backward. So feel pretty good about all of that stuff. Doesn't mean to say they aren’t risks down there and things that can go wrong and I think because there are as exactly why we're trying to get into a very conservative position in the face of those challenges externally.

In our second job of running the Bank, well, I'm trying to serve customers and then bring some either in the bottom line for shareholders. Clearly, the macro of flat economies makes it very hard to do much on the income line and so in many respects, we're trading water as all of our competitors are trading water. It's not such a bad place to be. Our Retail & Commercial ROE is 13% ex Ulster. I think we're really pleased in the quarter that the restructuring in the investment bank is on track. We showed that it didn't distract us. We were able to deliver a 21% return on equity and on markets business in the first quarter and unlike any of our competitors, that’s on a balance sheet is 20% down year-on-year.

So I think that was good. I don’t project that out for the year, but pleased that it didn't knock us off, of course. Beneath the surface we are doing huge amounts of work, trying to make each one of our businesses better. U.S. is still improving on underlying basis. I hope they are still stuck with past losses, but we are wading through them.

So I think we feel that we have got a solid business, one that we are making better but some of the visibility of that we'll have to wait until the economies do better. So those would be my introduction. I do think it’s a year where you have to worry about things going wrong that you don’t expect in the outside world and we're braced against that, but we will make as much progress as we can, and I do think the Bank becomes more and more resilient in the face of setbacks like that as we go on. But with that perhaps I could ask Bruce to the go through the financials.

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