Advisers say the restructure of Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds holds the potential to bring “a revolutionary change”.
The European Commission is forcing both banks to cut back substantially in the interest of competition. Chancellor Alistair Darling says he wants this to create three new standalone banks by 2013.
Coreco director Andy Montlake says that this could be good news for consumers and advisers. He says: “If we end up with three or more banks vying for business, then the consumer is going to benefit. Whoever buys these branches will want to get them up and running first. I hope they would develop broker business but their first concern will be getting people in the stores.”
Alexander Hall chief operating officer Andy Pratt says: “If this restructure even creates one new bank, it is a better situation than we are in now.”
Pratt says to win the bid for one of the new banks, the Government may look at firms’ “customer-friendly” proposition rather than just the amount of money offered.
He says: “This could be as big a revolutionary change as we have ever seen in banking. It could herald a new, consumer-driven banking sector to be found in shopping centres, supermarkets and online.”
The creation of two or more new banks could mean more opportunities for advisers.
Pratt adds: “Most new UK banks have inevitably moved into the intermediary area at some point so we have history on our side.”
London & Country head of communications David Hollingworth says: “Lloyds has never deserted the intermediary and I would expect RBS to stick with adviser sales.”