JOHN Tiner, the former chief executive of the City regulator, the Financial Services Authority, has been brought in to head up a consortium hoping to buy 316 branches from Royal Bank of Scotland.
Standard Life is among the investors, who also include Lord Jacob Rothschild’s RIT Capital and the private equity firms Corsair and Centerbridge.
They are said to have plans to invest £500 million ahead of a flotation of the branches, with Tiner installed as chairman and John Maltby, a former Lloyds director and currently a partner at Corsair, as chief executive.
It is thought the capital injection would turn into an equity stake in the business, which is comprised almost entirely of branches in England and Wales together with NatWest branches in Scotland.
A value of £1 billion has been put on the portfolio, which was due to be sold to Santander last year for £1.3bn until the Spanish bank pulled out over IT concerns.
It is expected to float under the revived Williams & Glyn’s name, though RBS may still sell if it gets the right offer.
Another interested consortium involves F&C, Invesco Perpetual and Schroders. It is headed by Andrew Higginson, a former Tesco director who was involved in setting up Tesco Bank.
Virgin Money and the private equity firms JC Flowers, Apollo and AnaCap have also shown interest in bidding.
The branches are being sold as a condition of RBS receiving state aid at the height of the banking crisis. RBS is hoping for an extension to the deadline, which is due this year.
n A search is under way for a “big hitter” in the banking sector to head up Vince Cable’s new Business Bank.
There is also a debate within the Department for Business as to the intended location of the bank, which is meant to breathe life into Britain’s cash-starved small business sector.
There have been suggestions that the bank, which will offer cheap finance and advice, should be based outside the south-east of England.