retail share offer

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UK chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, recently confirmed the government's intention to sell part of its remaining 29.82%* stake in NatWest Group. Originally bought for £46bn in 2008 during the global financial crisis, the shares will potentially be made available to the general public through a retail share offer.

The government could make its shares available as early as this summer, with a view to exit fully by 2026. Retail investors are expected to be offered shares at a discount to the market price. A final decision on if and when to launch the retail offer will be made soon.

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The offer will be made available to individuals aged 18 or over and located in the UK only.

*As at 25 March 2024

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Frequently asked questions

What is a retail sale?

A retail sale would be an opportunity for individual investors to purchase NatWest shares from the government, either directly (such as by applying online) or via financial intermediaries with whom they have an account.

Why does the government want to proceed with a retail sale?

A retail sale would help the government further reduce its stake in NatWest, which it intends to fully exit by 2025-26, subject to market conditions and sales representing value for money.

Selling to individual investors could also have wider policy benefits, including encouraging retail investing to create a stronger savings and investment culture and helping to re-invigorate the UK’s capital markets through a landmark transaction.

When could a retail sale take place?

The Chancellor has announced that the earliest a sale could take place is this summer, subject to supportive market conditions and achieving value for money.

The government will make a final decision on whether to launch a retail offer in due course.

Who would be able to take part in this sale?

The government would intend for the retail offer to be open to a broad range of investors above the age of 18 located in the UK.

Specific information regarding eligibility will be made available at a point closer to the implementation of any sale.

How many shares will I be able to buy?

The number of shares made available to eligible retail investors will be decided by the Chancellor at the time of implementing any sale.

Further information on the criteria for applying for shares, including the amounts eligible individuals could apply for, will be made available at a point closer to the implementation of any sale.

How much will the shares cost?

The Chancellor will provide details regarding pricing at a point closer to the implementation of any sale.

Where can I access guidance on investing in shares?

It is important for investors to carefully consider the potential benefits and risks before deciding whether to invest in any stocks or shares.

The following resources provide further relevant information:

Why does the government own NatWest shares?

As part of a number of interventions made in the financial services sector to protect economic and financial stability as a result of the 2007-09 financial crisis, the government acquired an 84% shareholding in the Royal Bank of Scotland (now known as NatWest Group).

It was never the government’s intention to be a permanent shareholder in NatWest. With the objectives behind the original intervention long achieved, the government has been returning its NatWest shareholding to private ownership when market conditions allow and when it represents value for money to do so.

To date the government has sold over £14.5bn worth of NatWest shares through a combination of sales to NatWest and sales to institutional investors. These sale proceeds are returned to the Exchequer and go towards supporting the public finances.