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The Royal Bank Of Scotland Group Plc's CEO Discusses 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

The question is sometimes raised as to how long those arms are, and the answer is that we do engage in discussions with all of our shareholders on performance, strategy, governance, remuneration and so on. And these discussions are inevitably fuller and more frequent with an 82% shareholder, whose opinions have a proper place and adjustments made by the Board and the management. But at the end of the day, all decisions in the company have to be taken by the Board and the management. And by law, those decisions have to take into account the interest of all of our shareholders. It's not, of course, just a accompanied lower issue. The clarity of decision-making and accountability is fundamental to the prudential management of all businesses and, of course, particularly financial institutions.

So whilst we do engage with shareholders, especially UKFI, we have to take our decisions on behalf of all shareholders, and we have to be wholly accountable for the decisions that we take solely and wholly accountable.

So it will be obvious, I'm sure, to everybody here that this is a very challenging set of circumstances for all parties. It's certainly very unusual. But I think, so far, we have been able to deal with those challenges and find acceptable solutions. I hope and I expect that we will be able to continue to do so. The Board firmly believes that running the business commercially is the only realistic way to secure the eventual exit of our majority shareholder because clearly, investors will have a very limited appetite to invest in an commercial bank.

So let me now hand over to Steven, who will describe the progress we're making.

Stephen A. M. Hester

Thank you, Philip. Good morning, everyone. Normal format this morning. Obviously, I'm going to go over a few matters and then hand over to Bruce to take you through the results and obviously, deal with as many of your questions afterwards as we can do. And I'm dividing my remarks this morning really into 3 categories, one just briefly the headlines of what we've announced for the year. I think perhaps more importantly, although you could argue it's retrospective, for the first time today since it does mark the end of our first 3 years in this 5-year turnaround plan that we set out in 2009, we've actually presented for you what the real numbers that we really thought we could achieve were 3 years ago that we haven't presented before and how we've done against them in an environment which, as you know, has turned out rather more difficult than we expected. And then I move in my final section into talking about the adjustments that we announced in January to our strategic plan that we're implementing what they were, why they were and what we think we will accomplish by them.

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