Italian lender Intesa Sanpaolo is considering making a bid for Royal Bank of Scotland wealth management arm Coutts.
The Financial Times reports Intesa chief executive Carlo Messina has made expansion in the UK a top priority.
It emerged in July that RBS was planning to sell the overseas arm of Coutts, but sources have told the FT Intesa was trying to persuade RBS to sell the whole of Coutts, including its UK business.
Intesa chief executive Carlo Messina told the newspaper: “We had an excess of capital, certified by the European Central Bank, of €13bn at the end of [last] December. Now we have €16bn of excess capital. We are by definition a potential consolidator.”
RBS has told the FT it is “absolutely committed to Coutts in the UK”.