James Moore: Stock market float may be a big hitter for RBS's US arm

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Outlook Are you a taxpayer? Did you know, then, that you hold a small stake in the naming rights of a baseball park in Philadelphia? Well, not for much longer.

Royal Bank of Scotland has issued an IPO filing ahead of the planned flotation of its US unit Citizens, the sponsor of Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Baseball is a sport where pay levels make even Premier League footballers look like paupers. The Phillies' highest-paid player, Cliff Lee, makes about $25m (£15m) a year.

While not on a quite par with Mr Lee, it has emerged that Citizens – a retail bank remember – paid its long-time boss Ellen Alemany $7.5m last year including $500,000 in "consultancy fees" for the three months after she departed. As much as $10m more could come through RBS share awards that have yet to vest. That's a lot of money for being what amounts to a public official, thanks to the state ownership of Citizens' parent.

The gravy train is set to continue when Citizens achieves its (partial) independence. Bruce van Saun, the former RBS finance director who replaced her, was paid $5.7m last year. It seems that he and other senior executives are due to be given "special IPO awards" this year instead of long-term share awards for their performance. We don't yet know what they will ultimately be worth, but Mr van Saun and his team look, in baseball parlance, to have hit themselves a home run.