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I AGREE
Rating Action:

Moody's reviews The Royal Bank of Scotland plc's ratings for downgrade and the ratings of National Westminster Bank Plc for upgrade

30 Jan 2018

Moody's also assigns a provisional long-term deposit rating of (P)A1 to Adam & Company plc.

London, 30 January 2018 -- Moody's Investors Service, (Moody's) today placed on review for downgrade the ratings, the baseline credit assessments (BCAs), and the long and short term counterparty risk assessments (CRAs) of The Royal Bank of Scotland plc (RBS plc) and Royal Bank of Scotland N.V. (RBS NV). The agency also placed on review for upgrade the long-term ratings, baseline credit assessments and long-term CRAs of National Westminster Bank PLC (NatWest Bank) and Ulster Bank Limited (UBL).

Concurrently, Moody's assigned provisional long-term and short-term deposit ratings of (P)A1/ (P)Prime-1, long and short-term CRAs of Aa3(cr)/Prime-1(cr) respectively and a BCA of baa1 to Adam and Company plc (Adam & Co), one of the future ring-fenced banks of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (RBS Group, LT senior unsecured debt rating Baa3 stable).

"The review for downgrade of RBS plc and RBS NV and the review for upgrade of NatWest Bank and UBL reflect Moody's view of the likely impact on the banks of forthcoming ring-fencing regulations", said Alessandro Roccati, Senior Vice President at Moody's. Moody's expects to conclude its review by April 2018 ahead of the legal separation of the group's ring-fenced banks later in the year, and the entry of the legislation into force on 1 January 2019.

Adam & Co will be the entity conducting RBS Group's retail and commercial banking business in Scotland and some commercial banking business in England. Following the implementation of ring-fencing, Moody's anticipates that Adam & Co will have moderate asset risk, solid capitalisation, good profitability, a strong funding profile and will benefit from shared liquidity within the ring-fenced sub-group. "We expect Adam & Co to benefit from good and stable profits from retail and business banking activities, underpinned by the bank's strong franchise in Scotland, despite potential profitability challenges deriving from losses on its residual legacy assets and weakening operating conditions in the UK" added Mr Roccati.

The assignment of the (P)A1 provisional long-term deposit rating to Adam & Co incorporates a baa1 standalone BCA and a baa1 adjusted BCA, reflecting the bank's fundamentals and a very high probability of support from its UK ring-fenced sister companies. It also incorporates a two-notch uplift resulting from Moody's advanced Loss Given Failure (LGF) analysis and includes one notch of government support, reflecting Moody's assessment of a moderate probability of support for Adam & Co from the government of the United Kingdom (Aa2 stable), should it be required.

Moody's will convert the assigned provisional deposit ratings of (P)A1/(P)Prime-1 to definitive ratings in 2018, once there is greater certainty on the financials and liability structures of this entity.

A list of the affected and assigned ratings is provided at the end of this press release.

RATINGS RATIONALE

RBS Group is reorganising its legal structure as a result of the forthcoming requirement to separate its retail and business banking businesses from its other operations, under the UK's "ring-fencing" regulation, aimed at making economically vital banking services more resilient against financial shocks.

RBS plc will transfer most of its Personal & Business Banking and Commercial & Private Banking operations to a ring-fenced banking sub-group (under an intermediate holding company, NatWest Holdings Ltd, a direct subsidiary of RBS Group), which will account for around 80% of group risk-weighted assets. This ring-fenced bank sub-group will include NatWest Bank, Ulster Bank Limited (LT deposits A2 Rating under Review), Adam & Co, Coutts & Company and Ulster Bank Ireland DAC (LT deposits Baa2 Positive).

The group's capital market activities will remain with RBS plc. At the same time as the legal transfer of assets and liabilities, RBS plc will be renamed NatWest Markets Plc (NatWest Markets), and Adam & Co will be renamed The Royal Bank of Scotland plc.

RBS plc, RBS NV, NatWest Bank and UBL

Under ring-fencing, RBS plc (to be renamed NatWest Markets) will likely have a significantly weaker credit profile than currently, as it will become the group's principal entity for conducting capital markets and some other wholesale activities, which Moody's considers to be typically riskier than retail and commercial banking. RBS plc will become largely market funded, have a sizeable trading and repo book, and will provide broker-dealer capabilities. Moody's will continue to align the ratings of Dutch entity RBS NV with those of the current RBS plc, based upon the agency's expectation that RBS NV will likely become the main entity for the group's wholesale activities in the European Union outside the UK.

Conversely, under ring-fencing, NatWest Bank and its subsidiary UBL will have a stronger credit profile as these two entities will retain mostly retail, SME and large corporate banking activities, will have largely deposit-based funding, and will be more profitable. For this reason, Moody's will likely de-couple the ratings of NatWest Bank and UBL from those of the current RBS plc.

During the review period, Moody's will assess the prospective standalone credit profiles of the new and modified group entities, the potential for intra-group support, the expected loss for each instrument class at each entity under its LGF analysis, and the likelihood of government support.

Adam & Co

The assigned baa1 BCA for Adam & Co reflects Moody's expectation that the ring-fenced bank will benefit from: (1) moderate asset risk, with legacy exposures mitigated by the bank's predominantly retail and small business lending activities; (2) robust capitalisation and modest leverage; (3) the strong funding profile and ample liquidity of the ring-fenced sub-group; (4) good and stable profits from the retail and business banking activities, underpinned by the bank's strong franchise in Scotland, albeit challenged by the weakening operating conditions in the UK and possible further conduct costs.

The (P)A1 provisional long-term deposit rating incorporates a two-notch uplift under Moody's LGF analysis, which suggests that Adam & Co's junior depositors will face very low losses in the event of the bank's failure; and an additional one-notch uplift in respect of government support, reflecting Moody's assessment of a moderate probability of support for the bank's junior depositors from the UK government, based upon RBS's ring-fenced sub-group's systemic importance for the country, given its substantial expected balance sheet of more than GBP400 billion.

WHAT COULD MOVE THE RATINGS UP/DOWN

RBS plc, RBS NV

The ratings of RBS plc and RBS NV would be downgraded if, as expected, RBS Group's reorganization results in a concentration of its capital markets activities in these entities. Moody's views these activities as typically riskier than retail and commercial banking.

An upgrade of RBS plc's and RBS NV ratings is unlikely, given that these entities are currently under review for downgrade. However, the ratings of RBS plc and RBS NV could be upgraded if RBS plc were not to proceed with the planned reorganisation and if it returns to sustainable profitability, generates capital organically and successfully completes its multi-year restructuring exercise.

NatWest Bank and UBL

The ratings of NatWest Bank and UBL would be upgraded if, as expected, RBS Group's reorganization results in a concentration of UK retail and commercial banking activities in the ring-fenced subgroup. Moody's views these activities as intrinsically lower risk, being a source of more predictable earnings and benefiting from stable deposit-based funding.

A downgrade of NatWest Bank's and UBL's ratings is unlikely, given that these entities are currently under review for upgrade. However, the ratings of NatWest Bank and UBL could be downgraded if RBS plc were not to proceed with the planned reorganisation, and if its asset risk, capital and profitability were to be negatively affected by a significant deterioration in the UK operating environment beyond Moody's base case scenario.

Adam & Co

Adam & Co's baa1 BCA could be upgraded if the bank's ultimate asset risk profile were likely to be much stronger than Moody's currently expects, and/or if profitability and capitalisation were to be significantly higher. A higher BCA would however only likely lead to a rating upgrade if the agency also expected similar improvements at the ring-fenced sub-group. An upgrade of Adam & Co's long-term deposit rating could also result from a higher-than-expected stock of more junior bail-in-able liabilities at the ring-fenced sub-group that would provide greater protection for the bank's junior depositors.

Adam & Co's baa1 BCA could be downgraded in the event of: (1) a deterioration in operating conditions in the UK, beyond Moody's current expectations, leading to higher asset risk and lower profitability; (2) a material weakening of the sub-group's liquidity profile; (3) a decline in capitalisation; or (4) large losses from its book of legacy assets. A lower BCA would lead to a rating downgrade if such weaknesses were also replicated at the ring-fenced sub-group, or if the planned intra-group capital and liquidity support mechanisms were weaker than anticipated. The rating could also be downgraded due to a reduction in the stock of bail-in-able liabilities that would reduce the degree of protection for junior depositors.

LIST OF AFFECTED RATINGS

Issuer: The Royal Bank of Scotland plc

Placed On Review for Downgrade:

....LT Bank Deposits, currently A2, Outlook changed To Rating Under Review From Negative

....ST Bank Deposits, currently P-1

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, currently A3, Outlook changed To Rating Under Review From Negative

....BACKED Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, currently A3, Outlook changed To Rating Under Review From Negative

....Subordinate, currently Ba1/Ba2

....Junior Subordinate, currently Ba2 (hyb)

....BACKED Junior Subordinate, currently Ba2 (hyb)

....Senior Unsecured MTN Program, currently (P)A3

....BACKED Senior Unsecured MTN Program, currently (P)A3

....Subordinate MTN Program, currently (P)Ba1

....BACKED Subordinate MTN Program, currently (P)Ba1

....Junior Subordinate MTN Program, currently (P)Ba2

....BACKED Junior Subordinate MTN Program, currently (P)Ba2

....Other Short Term Program, currently (P)P-2

....BACKED Other Short Term Program, currently (P)P-2

....BACKED Senior Unsec. Shelf, currently (P)A3

....BACKED Subordinate Shelf, currently (P)Ba1

....ST Deposit Note/CD Program, currently P-1

....Commercial Paper, currently P-2

....BACKED Commercial Paper, currently P-2

....Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, currently baa3

....Baseline Credit Assessment, currently baa3

....LT Counterparty Risk Assessment, currently A2(cr)

....ST Counterparty Risk Assessment, currently P-1(cr)

Outlook Actions:

....Outlook, Changed To Rating Under Review From Negative

Issuer: Royal Bank of Scotland N.V.

Placed On Review for Downgrade:

....LT Issuer Rating, currently A3, Outlook changed To Rating Under Review From Negative

....LT Bank Deposits, currently A2, Outlook changed To Rating Under Review From Negative

....ST Bank Deposits, currently P-1

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, currently A3, Outlook changed To Rating Under Review From Negative

....BACKED Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, currently A3, Outlook changed To Rating Under Review From Negative

....Subordinate, currently Ba1

....Senior Unsecured MTN Program, currently (P)A3

....BACKED Senior Unsecured MTN Program, currently (P)A3

....Subordinate MTN Program, currently (P)Ba1

....Junior Subordinate MTN Program, currently (P)Ba2

....Other Short Term Program, currently (P)P-2

....ST Deposit Note/CD Program, currently P-1

....Commercial Paper, currently P-2

....Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, currently baa3

....Baseline Credit Assessment, currently baa3

....LT Counterparty Risk Assessment, currently A2(cr)

....ST Counterparty Risk Assessment, currently P-1(cr)

Outlook Actions:

....Outlook, Changed To Rating Under Review From Negative

Issuer: Adam and Company plc

Assignments:

....LT Bank Deposits, Assigned (P)A1

....ST Bank Deposits, Assigned (P)P-1

....Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, Assigned baa1

....Baseline Credit Assessment, Assigned baa1

....LT Counterparty Risk Assessment, Assigned Aa3(cr)

....ST Counterparty Risk Assessment, Assigned P-1(cr)

Outlook Actions:

....Outlook, Assigned No Outlook

Issuer: Royal Bank of Scotland N.V., London Branch

Placed On Review for Downgrade:

....LT Counterparty Risk Assessment, currently A2(cr)

....ST Counterparty Risk Assessment, currently P-1(cr)

Outlook Actions:

....Outlook, Changed To Rating Under Review From No Outlook

Issuer: Royal Bank of Scotland plc, Tokyo Branch

Withdrawals:

....LT Counterparty Risk Assessment, Withdrawn , previously rated A2(cr)

....ST Counterparty Risk Assessment, Withdrawn , previously rated P-1(cr)

....Commercial Paper, Withdrawn , previously rated P-2

Outlook Actions:

....Outlook, Changed To Rating Withdrawn From No Outlook

Issuer: National Westminster Bank PLC

Placed On Review for Upgrade:

....LT Issuer Rating, currently A3, Outlook changed To Rating Under Review From Positive

....LT Bank Deposits, currently A2, Outlook changed To Rating Under Review From Positive

....Subordinate, currently Ba1

....Junior Subordinate, currently Ba2 (hyb)

....Pref. Stock Non-cumulative, currently Ba3 (hyb)

....Senior Unsec. Shelf, currently (P)A3

....Subordinate Shelf, currently (P)Ba1

....Preference Shelf, currently (P)Ba2

....Commercial Paper, currently P-2

....Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, currently baa3

....Baseline Credit Assessment, currently baa3

....LT Counterparty Risk Assessment, currently A2(cr)

Affirmations:

....ST Bank Deposits, Affirmed P-1

....ST Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed P-1(cr)

Outlook Actions:

....Outlook, Changed To Rating Under Review From Positive

Issuer: Ulster Bank Limited

Placed On Review for Upgrade:

....LT Issuer Rating, currently A3, Outlook changed To Rating Under Review From Positive

....LT Bank Deposits, currently A2, Outlook changed To Rating Under Review From Positive

....Adjusted Baseline Credit Assessment, currently baa3

....Baseline Credit Assessment, currently baa3

....LT Counterparty Risk Assessment, currently A2(cr)

Affirmations:

....ST Bank Deposits, Affirmed P-1

....ST Counterparty Risk Assessment, Affirmed P-1(cr)

Outlook Actions:

....Outlook, Changed To Rating Under Review From Positive

Issuer: Royal Bank of Scotland plc, Australia Branch

Withdrawals:

....LT Counterparty Risk Assessment, Withdrawn , previously rated A2(cr)

....ST Counterparty Risk Assessment, Withdrawn , previously rated P-1(cr)

Outlook Actions:

....Outlook, Changed To Rating Withdrawn From No Outlook

PRINCIPAL METHODOLOGY

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Banks published in September 2017. Please see the Rating Methodologies page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series or category/class of debt or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody's rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the credit rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular credit rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider's credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on www.moodys.com.

For any affected securities or rated entities receiving direct credit support from the primary entity(ies) of this credit rating action, and whose ratings may change as a result of this credit rating action, the associated regulatory disclosures will be those of the guarantor entity. Exceptions to this approach exist for the following disclosures, if applicable to jurisdiction: Ancillary Services, Disclosure to rated entity, Disclosure from rated entity.

Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating review.

Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.

Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

Alessandro Roccati
Senior Vice President
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5FA
United Kingdom
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454

Nicholas Hill
MD - Banking
Financial Institutions Group
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5FA
United Kingdom
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454

No Related Data.
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