'Resilient' Adam & Co holds steady on £24m

ADAM & Co, the private banking arm of Royal Bank of Scotland, held profits steady at £24 million last year, despite turbulence in financial markets and a record year in 2008.

Managing director David Cathie said the company had proved "very resilient" despite a "difficult time" for the RBS group.

He said Adam & Co, which has 9,500 clients and 1.5 billion under management, had "continued momentum" in 2010.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

"The wealth businesses are core to the (RBS] group: we're liquid, are businesses that have significant deposits and have safe balance sheets. We provide good returns in the overall scheme of things," he said.

Cathie said Adam & Co was "very prudent", generally lending just 30p for every pound it attracts in cash deposits.

Pre-tax profits at Adam & Co for the year to 31 December came in at 24.2m, compared with 24.3m made during a record 2008.

The firm made significantly less in interest received on loans last year compared with 2008. Interest received tumbled 58.3 per cent to 59.4m. However, it also paid out far less interest on deposits, down 80.8 per cent at 19.8m.

Cathie said the company had boosted the margin between what it pays on deposits and what it charges on borrowing to "a little over 2 per cent". It typically charges 2-4 per cent to borrowers, depending on the perceived risk, size and duration of loan.

Meanwhile, the historically low base rate of 0.5 per cent had "presented challenges", he said.

Some clients had moved money away from Adam & Co to high street banks, where they could receive a higher level of interest on their savings. Others had moved into other asset classes, such as shares and property, as these markets recovered in the hope of better returns.

Nevertheless, the firm had boosted client numbers by 5-10 per cent during the year, while a move back into the property market had seen Adam & Co increase its lending activity of late.

RBS's wealth division also includes Coutts & Co and RBS Coutts. Adam & Co has six offices – in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Guernsey, Glasgow, London and Manchester – employing 350 staff. It plans to take on another ten client-facing staff during 2010.