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Morgan Stanley banker approached for top RBS job

By Mark Kleinman, City editor
The state-backed Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has approached one of the City's top investment bankers about becoming its next finance chief.
Sky News has learnt that William Chalmers, who jointly leads Morgan Stanley's global financial institutions group, is among a number of external candidates identified as a potential replacement for Ewen Stevenson.
A longlist of names is understood to have been drawn up by headhunters acting for RBS, and the appointment of a new chief financial officer is unlikely until the autumn.However, the emergence of Mr Chalmers as a possible candidate the day before RBS reports results for the first half of 2018 will intrigue the City.As a long-serving Morgan Stanley employee, Mr Chalmers has been involved in many of the banking industry's most significant takeovers and post-financial crisis restructurings, including in the UK.Hiring him would possess some logic for RBS, whose chief executive Ross McEwan is expected to commit his medium-term future to the bank on Friday following months of speculation that he was poised to step down.Like Mr Stevenson, Mr Chalmers is a senior City figure who already knows RBS and its biggest shareholder - UK Government Investments (UKGI), the body which manages taxpayers' stake in the bank - extremely well.Sources close to RBS say there is also at least one internal candidate to replace Mr Stevenson, who resigned in June to become the new finance chief at HSBC Holdings.His departure after four years surprised both Mr McEwan and investors, triggering unsubstantiated suggestions that he had been told he was unlikely to be Mr McEwan's eventual successor.Sky News revealed last week that Iain Mackay, the current HSBC chief financial officer, is now being lined up to take the same role at GlaxoSmithKline, Britain's biggest drugs company.
Some City figures questioned whether Mr Chalmers would wish to relinquish his senior role advising clients around the world to work in a taxpayer-backed institution whose major restructuring has largely already been completed."It would be a coup if they got him, but it's not obvious why he'd want to do it," a former colleague of Mr Chalmers said.Friday's interim results are expected to include a significant milestone for RBS: the restoration of dividend payments to shareholders almost a decade after its €45.5bn taxpayer bailout.The payment of a 2p-a-share dividend, predicted in recent notes published by City analysts, is understood to have been on the bank's agenda at a board meeting this week.RBS's results will come two months after UKGI reduced its shareholding to 62.4% by offloading a 7.7% stake to institutional investors.Further disposals could take place as soon as the autumn, with fund managers enticed by the prospect of RBS once again becoming a significant payer of dividends.
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Under the terms of its rescue, RBS was blocked from payouts until its financial health was restored and an instrument called the Dividend Access Share held by the Treasury was abolished.RBS and Morgan Stanley both declined to comment.
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