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Coutts completes suitability review started in 2014

Coutts completes suitability review started in 2014

Coutts & Co has finally completed the suitability review two and a half year after starting it in 2014.

The review ended in December 2016, with total costs remaining within the £200 million provision set out by the bank.

‘It is over, but we never want to be complacent,’ Peter Flavel, chief executive officer (CEO) of Coutts, told New Model Adviser's sister publication Wealth Manager.

‘So we have spent a lot of time reviewing our risk controls, making sure that all of our advisers are well educated and trained. It is an ongoing focus for us.’

Coutts undertook the suitability review in June 2014, which covered every client investment dating back to 1957.

According to the group’s accounts for the year ending 31 December 2015, it cost the private bank close to £139 million at the time, including both client compensation and the cost of carrying it out.

While it was initially expected to be completed by early 2015, its parent Royal Bank of Scotland wrote in its interim results for the half year to 30 June 2016: ‘This review is well advanced, with the focus on Coutts & Co contacting remaining clients and offering redress in appropriate cases.’

The private bank has not revealed how much of the remaining £61 million provision was used to cover client redress.

Flavel, who joined as chief executive  in March 2016, said there have not been any further funds put aside for future client compensation.

Since the review was undertaken, Coutts has put in place a centralised investment team based out of its London office, Flavel added.

‘The way in which we invest client monies today is we have a house view. Everything is driven by our house view and that permeates all of our client portfolios.’

He said the centralised team makes investment more efficient and ensures the correct risk controls are in place.

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