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NatWest loses £1.1bn in value in wake of bosses’ departures as problems mount after Nigel Farage Coutts row

NatWest has lost more than £1bn in value following the departure of its chief executive and the boss of private bank Coutts, after its share price fell more than 5 per cent in two days.

Investors in the high street bank were left reeling after its chief executive Dame Alison Rose stepped down on Wednesday after four years in the top job.

The next day NatWest, which owns Coutts, announced that Peter Flavel, head of the private bank, would also step down over the row about Nigel Farage’s loss of his bank account. Coutts said the treatment of Mr Farage had “fallen below the bank’s high standards of personal service”.

Paul Thwaite, who was appointed as NatWest Group chief executive following Dame Alison’s resignation, said: “Whilst I will be personally sorry to lose Peter as a colleague, I believe this is the right decision for Coutts and the wider Group.”

Mohammad Kamal Syed, the head of Coutts’ asset management team, was asked to step into the role of interim chief executive of the private bank, he added.

The news seemed to spook investors further after they had already sold off stock in NatWest on Wednesday.

On Thursday, the bank’s share price ended the day’s trading 0.95 per cent lower at 239.5p, following the news that Mr Flavel would depart. It had already slumped more than 3.7 per cent the day prior after the departure of Dame Alison.

In total, over the two days, more than £1.1bn was wiped from the value of the lender. NatWest shares have lost more than 8 per cent of their value in the past week, representing close to £2bn in market value.

It comes after it was reported that a hedge fund led by the owner of GB News has made millions from shorting NatWest stock following the plummeting share price.

Sir Paul Marshall’s hedge fund Marshall Wace holds a 0.59 per cent short position in NatWest, according to regulatory filings first reported by the Telegraph. The fund has held a short position against NatWest since the Spring, but has pared back its bets slightly in recent months.

With NatWest shares losing £2bn in the space of a week, it means Marshall Wace has gained around £11.7m in that time by betting against the bank.

The bank is due to publish its financial results for the second quarter of the year tomorrow, and will be bracing itself for a flurry of questions from investors regarding the events of this week.

NatWest is expected to reveal an operating pre-tax profit of £3.3bn for the latest half year, up from £2.6 billion in the same period last year.

It could also see its provisions for loan losses surge to £264m from £70m in the previous quarter, as it braces for more borrowers struggling with debt repayments.

It follows rival lenders Lloyds Banking Group and Barclays reporting a jump in their half-year profits as they continue to benefit from interest rate rises.

Ask Andrew Bailey

Andrew Bailey, governor of the Bank of England, will be answering questions from i readers next week. If you have a query you would like to put to him on the economy – you may be wondering what the future has in store for your mortgage rates, whether there is going to be a recession – now is your chance.

Email us at [email protected] with Andrew Bailey as the subject line and we’ll publish the best questions, along with Bailey’s answers, on Thursday 3 August.

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