Taxpayers end 2013 with a £14.5bn loss from their stake in Royal Bank of Scotland, five years after the Edinburgh-based bank received a record-breaking government bailout.
While shares in the bank are languishing below the 502p average price at which 82% taxpayers' stake was bought, there is a £1bn profit – on paper at least – for their share in Lloyds Banking Group at the end of 2013.
In its last stock exchange announcement of the year, RBS also revealed that it had handed its new chief executive, Ross McEwan, 454,106 shares - worth £1.5m - under the terms of his recruitment package from Commonwealth Bank of Australia in 2012. The New Zealander, who took over from Stephen Hester on 1 October after a year running the retail bank, immediately sold £700,000 of them to meet his tax bill.
RBS shares ended at 338p – above the 324p at which they started 2013 – while Lloyds ended at 78.8p – well above the 47.9p at which they began the year and higher than the 73.6p at which taxpayers break even on their stake. The government began to sell off part of its stake in Lloyds during 2013 and in 2014 is expected to take further opportunities to reduce its 32% holding, including through a retail offering.
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image: © Mark Ramsey