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UK bank ownership vehicle confident on £3B RBS stake sale despite CEO exit

UK Financial Investments Ltd., which manages Britain's stake in Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC, is confident that it will be able to sell £3 billion worth of shares in the bank in the next financial year, Chairman James Leigh-Pemberton said March 26.

Leigh-Pemberton's statement to a parliamentary committee comes despite uncertainty given RBS' pending settlement over alleged mis-selling of residential mortgage-backed securities in the U.S., the Financial Times reported the same day. He also confirmed the departure of Oliver Holbourn as CEO, as was reported in the week of March 19.

The U.K. government aims to start selling down its stake of about 71% in RBS by March 2019 even though it is sitting on a paper loss of about £27 billion from its £45.8 billion rescue of RBS during the financial crisis, the FT noted. Leigh-Pemberton said a sale is unlikely before the RMBS settlement, given prevailing investor sentiment, although this is "not a necessary condition for future sales."

In February, RBS reported its first annual profit in 10 years with a full-year 2017 profit attributable to ordinary shareholders of £752 million, compared to a year-ago loss of £6.96 billion. As of 2017-end, the total aggregate of provisions in relation to U.S. RMBS was £3.2 billion.