While Chancellor George Osborne might soon announce a plan to sell off the government's holding in Lloyds Banking Group, offloading its shares in Royal Bank of Scotland will be a tougher task, according to Chief Investment Officer Haig Bathgate.
The government has always insisted that it will only sell its bank holdings at a price above the level it paid for them. Lloyds shares are currently hovering at around the 61 pence paid by the government during the financial crisis. Any sell off of the government's 39% holding in Lloyds will be done in stages and rumours suggest the government may try and float about 10% of its stake by the end of this year.
Royal Bank of Scotland will prove a more difficult offering. Apart from recent volatility – its shares plunged last week after Chief Executive Officer Stephen Hester said he was leaving – the fact that the government owns 82% of the company will also make it much harder for the market to absorb any sale.
UK banks will also face the conclusions of the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards in coming weeks. That's more likely to focus on higher level issues affecting the industry such as pay and professional standards rather than making specific proposals about individual banks, Haig said.
Haig, speaking on BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland, also commented on the rescue plan for the Co-operative Bank and Mervyn King's retirement from the Bank of England.
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