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NatWest hires UBS banker as new Coutts head

(Sharecast News) - NatWest Group has named Emma Crystal as the new head of Coutts, the lender confirmed on Thursday. Crystal will join NatWest as chief executive of its wealth businesses, which includes the private bank, in the summer.

Having previously worked at Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse, she will join NatWest from UBS, where she heads the sustainable finance group.

Coutts is one of the most high-profile names in private banking. Tracing its roots back to 1692, it counts royal families, celebrities and ultra-high net worth individuals as clients.

Last year, however, it was engulfed in a de-banking scandal after former politician Nigel Farage was asked to move his account to NatWest.

When Farage publicly complained, NatWest claimed he had been asked to move because he no longer had enough funds to qualify as a Coutts customer.

But it later emerged Coutts' management was uncomfortable with the views held by the former leader of the UK Independence Party.

The scandal resulted in the resignations of Alison Rose, chief executive of NatWest, and long-standing Coutts head Peter Flavel.

Paul Thwaite, who took over from Rose as chief executive, said of Crystal's appointment: "The UK wealth management is large and growing, and Emma's proven ability to work across organisational boundaries will be invaluable."

Crystal added: "In Coutts we have one of the strongest private banking brands in the market, and as part of the wider group we are uniquely placed to support clients with their full range of banking, lending and wealth management needs."

NatWest is 36% owned by the government, after it was bailed out during the financial crisis. Earlier this week chancellor Jeremy Hunt outlined plans to sell down more of the stake, however.

NatWest has owned Coutts since it was created in 1969 through the merger of Westminster Bank and National Provincial.

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