As a former employee, I dedicated around 13 years of my career in financial services to the RBS group now NatWest. I had seen many changes in the group in those 13 years, most in the run up to 2008 were positive, from a bank and employee perspective that is. Last week NatWest Group announced the intention to withdraw Ulster Bank from Ireland over the coming months and years and I feel this is just another sad milestone in the downsizing of a bank that was once heralded as the banking standard to aspire to. The organisation has now been downsizing for some considerable time and looks like this will continue to be the case for the foreseeable future.
I feel for those members of staff who will now go through the redundancy process that my colleagues and I went through some 10 years ago. I look back on my times with the group as a happy time in financial services but the experience towards the end has somewhat tainted my view. People of all levels in Ulster Bank will now find themselves at a crossroads in life, some will be considering early retirement and some will be anxious about whether they should wait to receive a redundancy package or get out before the herd and try to skip the queue in the re-employment race.
Regardless of your seniority in the bank you will now find that those years of hard work, early starts and sometimes late nights amount to a simple calculation, how many years have you worked for the bank and what is your current remuneration, plain and simple! You may find yourself in direct competition with those members of your current team in a demoralising contest to see who is last out the door as the bank tries to squeeze the last remnants or productivity from a group of people who have been told they have no future with Ulster Bank, this may sound harsh but unfortunately is the cold hard reality.
I was fortunate when coming to the end of my employment with the bank for two main reasons;
- I was a qualified financial adviser and I knew how to make the best use of my options
- I had always kept my options open and had lined up alternative employment, enabling me to leave on my own terms.
Having known a great deal of people who left the NatWest/RBS Group to go on to better and more fulfilling things (myself included) I can honestly say that if this scenario is approached with the right mentality and financial planning is a cornerstone of that, then this can be a springboard onto better things. A great opportunity to use the knowledge and skills you have learned in the organisation to give you either a continuing career in financial services or a change of job or lifestyle that you have always been craving but you just needed that push to realise.
One area that the bank was particularly generous in was the final salary/defined benefit pension it offered to employees and you should really understand the full implications of the scheme before you make any decisions.
Start planning now for your next step, don’t wait for Ulster Bank to make your life choices, engage with alternative employers, assess your early retirement options, look into that business idea you have always harboured and as the old strapline used to say, “Make it Happen.”
Imperius Wealth can help you and make sense of it all, we have a deep understanding of the issues created by redundancy and with someone who has been through the process you are currently coming to terms with. We can help, get in contact for a no obligation initial chat to discuss your options.
Get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get a review of your benefits and ensure you make the most of the situation.
This article was written by Gerard Frew, Managing Director of Imperius Wealth who spent 13 years working at RBS and has experience in dealing with clients and friends being made redundant from the RBS/NatWest group in addition to going through the process on a personal level.