What Wanless said

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The Independent Online
National Westminster Bank last week sold the bulk of its investment bank for pounds 179m. Bankers Trust bought the European stockbroking operation for pounds 129m, and Deutsche Morgan Grenfell paid pounds 50m for its derivatives operations.

Chief executive Derek Wanless offered these thoughts:

On NatWest's decision in 1985 to go into investment banking: "A defensive move. [Commercial banks] thought they had to do it to protect their relationships with corporate customers."

On the decision to withdraw from investment banking: "We see we don't need to be in investment banking to protect relationships with corporate customers."

On the penalties to NatWest of miscalculations made in common with other commercial banks: "We lost money on investment banking. But our core businesses have in no way been affected."

On NatWest's strategy now: "To be a tightly-focused UK-based bank with significant market share in our key business sectors."

On targets as chief executive: "17.5 per cent return on equity."

On bid target rumours: "We are part of a consolidating industry, and we have to keep our shareholders' interests in mind. But we are an independent business managing itself as an independent business."