RBS chairman ‘surprised’ at size of bank’s fines

Royal Bank of Scotland’s outgoing chairman Sir Philip Hampton has admitted he did not expect the bank to be hit with £10bn in regulatory fines.

Speaking at his seventh and final annual general meeting on Tuesday, Hampton said the bank had also been surprised by the pace of the digital revolution in banking.

The FT reports Hampton told investors: “I can plainly say that we did not anticipate the nearly £10bn of regulatory fines, litigation charges and customer redress we have incurred, so far, for conduct and business failings.”

He said the scale of the conduct issues faced by RBS had “markedly” reduced its profits and value for shareholders.

RBS chief executive Ross McEwan added that shareholders would have to wait another four years for the bank to recover fully, and return to operating as a UK-focused, low-risk bank.

Earlier this month Chancellor George Osborne announced the Government would begin to sell its 80 per cent stake in RBS at a loss.

In an interview with the FT earlier this week, Hampton said he believed that without RBS’s regulatory fines, taxpayers “would be getting their money back”.

At the AGM Hampton said the bank had underestimated the digital revolution, and admitted that the shift from branches to mobile banking “frankly surprised us”.

In May RBS was fined £430m by international regulators for rigging forex markets, on top of £400m of penalties announced in November.

In February 2013 the bank was hit with £390m in fines by the FSA and US regulators for manipulating Libor.