Coutts plans overseas drive

UK private banking stalwart Coutts & Co is preparing a comms drive to grow the brand internationally and target high net worth individuals in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Asia.

The private banking arm of the Royal Bank of Scotland is understood to have met with a number of agencies to discuss plans for a global PR drive.

In March, RBS' head of private banking Rory Tapner pledged to double the size of its private banking business by 2015 through targeted international growth.

Coutts is one of the heavyweight players in UK private banking, but lacks the global reach of international competitors such as Credit Suisse and UBS.

The bank aims to grow its combined assets and liabilities from £80bn to £160bn, with Tapner telling Reuters that the bank was looking to make 'more investment in high growth markets rather than taking lots of market share in mature markets.'

A spokesman for Coutts in London would only confirm that the bank had held 'conversations' with PR agencies about 'a number of different things', but declined to elaborate further.

The spokesman confirmed that Ogilvy was one agency to which Coutts had talked, but would not confirm the agency had been engaged on any brief. Ogilvy did not respond to requests for comment.

Coutts engaged FD to support its financial and corporate comms last year. FD's brief is understood to be separate to the discussions around international PR support.

Coutts is believed to want help in driving new business in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Asia by connecting with wealthy individuals in these regions.

Coutts was established in 1692 and counts the Queen among its clients. The bank had its international business rebranded RBS Coutts in 2008, and is wholly owned by Royal Bank of Scotland, which itself is 84 per cent owned by the Government via UK Financial Investments.

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