RegulationDec 1 2015

RBS and Standard Chartered scrape through stress test

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RBS and Standard Chartered scrape through stress test

The Royal Bank of Scotland and Standard Chartered were deemed to be the lowest performers in the Prudential Regulation Authority’s annual stress test.

For RBS, the PRA said it did not meet its CET1 individual capital guidance after management actions, while Standard Chartered did not meet its Tier 1 minimum capital requirement of 6 per cent after management actions.

However, as both banks have recently taken steps to strengthen their capital positions, neither have to submit a revised plan.

In November this year, the government committed to selling over £25bn of shares in RBS over the next parliament.

The bank further de-risked its balance sheet earlier this year by selling its stake in US arm Citizens Financial Group.

Ewen Stevenson, RBS’ chief financial officer, said they were pleased with the progress made relative to the 2014 stress test, but recognised there was still much to do to restore RBS to be a strong and resilient bank for customers.

“During 2015 we have continued to strengthen our core capital ratio and improve our leverage position. Following the divestment of Citizens in October 2015, our pro-forma CET1 ratio at 30 September 2015 would have been 16.2 per cent and our leverage ratio 5.6 per cent.”

Meanwhile, Standard Chartered’s group chief executive Bill Winters said that the results demonstrate its resilience to a marked slowdown across the key markets in which they operate.

“The test was conducted on our balance sheet as at the end of 2014. Since then we have made further significant progress in strengthening our capital position.

“We are operating at capital levels above current minimum regulatory requirements and have a number of additional levers at our disposal to further manage capital.”

The other lenders tested in the second annual assessment of financial health were HSBC, Barclays, Nationwide Building Society, Santander UK and Lloyds Banking Group.

Elsewhere, the Bank of England gave an update on its approach to the booming buy-to-let market, stating that it will review next March whether to put “countercyclical buffers” in place.

As the UK economy has moved out of a period of retrenchment from risk-taking, “banks are more resilient and credit is generally more available,” so the BOE will look again at whether it will require the industry to hold £10bn of capital against UK lending.

“The result of this process will mean an increase in the countercyclical buffer that will probably not change the overall capital requirements for individual banks,” its report noted.