In a sign of the changing fortunes within Scotland’s financial services sector, RBS has been displaced from Forture magazine’s latest Global 500 listing. It had been ranked in 361st place in the previous year’s table having made it into the top 100 during the peak of its worldwide expansion under disgraced former chief executive Fred Goodwin.
Standard Life is a returnee to the newly published Global 500 ranking, making it into 432nd place. It is likely to climb further following its mega-merger with Aberdeen Asset Management, which is due to complete shortly.
Companies within the Forture Global 500 are ranked by total revenues for their respective financial years ending on or before 31 March, 2017. The listings, which are dominated by US and Asian corporate giants, also examine profits, assets and employee numbers.
RBS has been actively down-sizing since the financial crisis, focusing on its core UK business, so that its revenues and assets have fallen accordingly.
The group is expected to show further evidence of its underlying trading recovery tomorrow, by revealing an operating profit, potentially as high as £1 billion, for its latest reported quarter.
The bank, still 72 per cent owned by the taxpayer, is expected to say that the reassuring performance in the first three months of the year has continued, with strong loan growth, good credit quality, lower costs and a decent capital markets performance.
However, City analysts say attention will still largely focus on the timing of the settlement of any overhanging negotiations with the US Department of Justice (DoJ) on the bank’s historical mis-selling of mortgage-backed securities.
RBS recently agreed to pay $5.5bn (£4.2bn) in total to the US Federal Housing Finance Agency over the issue.
Dividend payments have been suspended at the Edinburgh-based bank as it has made nine years of consecutive losses since the financial crash, the latter largely triggered by US sub-prime mortgage security mis-selling by the banking industry.
Michael Hewson, analyst at CMC Markets UK, said yesterday: “Market expectations are for a quarterly profit in the region of £300 million at the lower end of expectations to as much as £1bn, to be added to the £259m profit we saw in Q1.”