Coutts targets shipping magnates with new division

* Hires new head of shipping wealth

* Targets shipping clients of RBS corporate business

By Chris Vellacott

LONDON, Dec 6 (BestGrowthStock) – Coutts & Co, the private bank
whose clients include Queen Elizabeth, has set up a unit
dedicated to turning shipping oligarchs who use the corporate
services of its parent Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) (RBS.L: ) into
private banking customers.

The bank has hired Elena Mavrogonatou, former director in
the Greek and Cypriot shipping and industrials markets team at
Barclays Wealth, to lead the division.

Coutts also plans to hire four more bankers to the division,
two based in London and two in Zurich, Coutts’ head of
international private banking James Fleming told Reuters on
Monday.

The team will focus initially on families in Greece, home to
many of the world’s leading shipping families, later expanding
its efforts to Asia and elsewhere in Europe.

RBS’ shipping portfolio, which is focused on vessel secured
mortgage lending, is worth about 14 billion pounds ($21.9
billion), according to the banking group’s last earnings
statement. Fleming said it is the leading lender to Greek
shipping firms.

“A little scratch of the surface will show you that the
Greek shipping market is full of pretty wealthy families,”
Fleming said.

Shipping accounted for about 5 percent of Greek GDP in 2009
and the country’s merchant fleet is the world’s second largest
after Japan’s. [ID:nLDE60R2P0]

Coutts said in a statement the shipping team will provide
advice on cross-border structures for family wealth, as well as
lending investment and taxation services.

As the bank’s head of shipping wealth, Mavrogonatou will
report to Ken Saunders, managing partner at Coutts.
(Reporting by Chris Vellacott; Editing by Sinead Cruise and
David Holmes)
($1=.6382 Pound)

Coutts targets shipping magnates with new division