Technology drives job losses at RBS

Automation will prompt the elimination of up to 500 roles across the 3,500-strong wealth management division at Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

The...

Automation will prompt the elimination of up to 500 roles across the 3,500-strong wealth management division at Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

The extended roll-out of Avaloq - a system underpinning the division's operational processes in banking and investments - is part of a programme aimed at consolidating the IT supporting the bank's wealth brands onto one global platform.

A combined back-office function will be created to support the wealth management division, which includes private banks Coutts and Adam, with administrative jobs made redundant over a three-year period.

According to the bank, the platform had been in use for the past two years across other areas of the division and is part of a vision to create "a unified and internationally integrated private bank" and that this would not be possible under the current IT set-up.

"The system and its benefits have been tried and tested. We are absolutely confident that this is the correct platform to enhance the client experience while ensuring that our businesses grow profitably and efficiently," the bank said.

Adam will go live with Avaloq in the fourth quarter of 2010, while Coutts is expected to go live in the second quarter of 2011. The bank said that further improvements under the overall optimisation programme will continue until 2013.

Workers union Unite reacted angrily to the news and said that RBS should "focus on ensuring that their staff can continue to give customers the high levels of service they expect from the Queen's bank".

"Unite does not believe that the introduction of, and investment in, new technology should go hand in hand with the shedding of jobs," said Unite national officer Rob MacGregor.

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