ii view: RBS cuts costs and declares a special dividend

by Keith Bowman from interactive investor |

Royal Bank of Scotland returns £1.7 billion to shareholders.

Half-year results

  • Operating profit up 47% to £2.69 billion
  • Interim dividend of 2p and special dividend of 12p per share – totalling £1.7 billion
  • 2019 outlook - unchanged

ii round-up:

Headquartered in Edinburgh, the Royal Bank of Scotland’s history dates to 1727. 

Today the bank’s brands include RBS itself, NatWest, Ulster Bank, Child & Co, Drummonds and Coutts. 

In April this year and after more than five and a half years at the helm, Ross McEwan its chief executive announced that after a handover period he would be stepping down. 

In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, the bank is still majority owned by the UK government. 

For a round-up of these half-year results, please click here.

ii view:

2018 and ten years on from the height of the financial crisis saw RBS passing the Bank of England’s latest stress tests. The bank’s journey through and out of the financial crisis has few rivals. 

Today, fines and settlements for a series of legacy issues now sit in the rear-view mirror. Simplification and refocus have proved themes. The UK government is still the majority shareholder. 

For investors, Brexit and how it impacts the bank and its customers occupies the near-term. Might a no deal Brexit see the Bank of England reducing interest rates, hitting the net interest margin for RBS? Beyond Brexit, shareholder returns and possible special dividend payments offer attraction. 


  • Costs are being cut - £173 million was achieved in H1 2019
  • Special dividend of 12p
  • RBS passed the Bank of England stress test back in 2018


  • UK economy faces uncertainty given pending Brexit
  • UK government’s shareholding leaves it more so than rivals in the political firing line
  • Higher interest rates are good for banks. A hard Brexit might see rates being cut

The average rating of stock market analysts:


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