29 NOVEMBER 1940, Page 26




THE Annual General Court of Proprietors of the Royal Bank of Scotland was held at Edinburgh on November 27th, His Grace the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry, G.C.V.O., Governor of the Bank, presiding.

His Grace said— His Grace said—

I assume it will be your pleasure that the annual report and balance sheet, with auditors' report, will be taken as read. The report covers a full year of the war period with all its attendant uncertainties but, notwithstanding the difficulties of the present times, the directors are pleased to be able to place before you a statement which they consider to be satisfactory.


Turning to the balance sheet we show under the heading "Liabili- ties " an increase of fully six million pounds in our deposits and credit balances which stand in the balance sheet at £75,091,290.

Notes in circulation at £3,795,495 show an increase over last year's figures of almost £500,000—a rise in employment and higher wages are factors contributing to the increase under this heading.

The. total of £1,902,169, for acceptances and indorsements of Foreign bills and other obligations is considerably lower than last year's total of £3,418,1or.

The decline in foreign trade and the taking over of the purchases of commodities by the Government accounts for the falling off here.


On the " Assets " side you will see that our customary highly liquid position has been more than maintained, and that our holdings of cash, balances with the Bank of England and other banks, money in London at call and short notice, reach the large sum of £16,899,010. This sum represents 21 per cent. of our liability for deposits and notes issued.

British Government securities at £28,899,811 are up over £4,000,000 on the year. This reflects the support given by the bank to the Government's loan programmes for financing the war.

I would also draw your attention to the new item appearing in our balance sheet of " Treasury deposit receipts," which shows that at the date of our balance on October 12th, we had £2,5oo,000 of these Treasury deposits. I may add, in passing, that the amount has been increased since that date to the present figure of £6,000,000.

I can again say that a high proportion of our investments in Government stocks is in short- and -medium-dated stocks, and that all our investments are valued at or under market prices ruling on the date of our balance.


A further evidence of our liquidity is seen in our bill portfolio, where we show increases, not only in our Treasury bill holdings, but also in our holdings of commercial bills, notwithstanding the short supply of the latter.


In common with other institutions, we show a decline in our advances, which, in our case, are approximately £2,200,000 lower than a year ago, notwithstanding the new advances which we have made to Government contractors for the financing of vital war supplies.

I have on previous occasions referred to the important connections which the bank have had for a number of years in Scandinavia and Finland. With the advent of the war all advances granted in these quarters were liquidated, and it is a tribute to our borrowers that repayments were made in every case without delay or loss. These repayments partly account for the decline in our advances.

A feature of our report this year is that our assets have reached the record figure of just over £9o,00o,000.


The net profit of the year at £557,359 os. 3d. is £48,360 7s. 8d. less than the amount declared a year ago. This is after providing for all taxation, which has considerably grown, and charges of manage- ment, which again show a further substantial increase.


The directors are pleased to be in a position to recommend that a dividend for the half-year on the capital stock at the rate of 17 per cent. per annum be declared, that £5o,000 be applied in writing off expenditure on bank buildings and heritable property, and £30,000 be carried to pension reserve fund. After these appropriations there remains the sum of £43,859 os. 3d., which it is proposed should be carried to our inner reserves against contingencies.


I am sure you do not expect me on this occasion to give the customary review of Scottish trade, but I would add that the busi- ness of the bank and our associated banks. has been maintained and eytended throughout the year, and that we are doing everything we can to further the national effort and to bring the war to a victorious conclusion at the earliest possible moment.

To fill a vacancy on the board Mr. Kenneth M. Oliphant, W.S., Edinburgh, was elected. Mr. Oliphant holds office until this court when he comes up for re-election.

Lord Catto of Cairncatto, C.B.E., resigned his position as an extra- ordinary director in July last on assuming the post of Financial Adviser to the Treasury.

Lord Catto became an extraordinary director in 1933 in succession to the first Lord Inchcape, and we are glad to have this opportunity of thanking him for his valuable advice, which was always readily placed at our disposal. His wide experience and great abilities sho find ample scope in the high post he now holds.


You will be interested to hear the position of the bank staff as regards military service. Up to date 444 members, or about one-third of the entire staff, are actually serving with H.M. Forces, and 61 more have registered for service. We have thought it right to arrange that the bank shall make up the difference between service pay and the salaries in the case of those thus serving. I regret to say that one has already made the supreme sacrifice while on active service, and we should like to express our deep sympathy with his relatives. Eleven others are miss- ing, or known to be prisoners.

The absence of so many men has necessarily thrown a great strain on those who remain, and on the senior officials and agents who have to re-arrange and carry on the work with the help of temporary assist- ance. To all of them, senior and junior, permanent and temporary, we express our warm appreciation of the way in which they have " buckled to " and successfully carried on the work of the bank under great difficulties. They fully recognise that by doing so they are playing their part in the national effort. It has been our privilege to be of some special service in certain important matters involving work of an onerous kind, for which the staff concerned volunteered in a very public-spirited way. Our special sympathy and gratitude are due to our London manager, Mr. Robb, and his staff, and to our managers and staff at our other London offices, who have carried on their work under the most trying and dangerous conditions, and have done so with admir- able cheerfulness and fortitude, and without loss of efficiency. There has, naturally, been a very heavy strain on our general manager, Mr.

Whyte. That the strain has been borne successfully is shown hy the results which we have submitted to you today, and our special thanks are due to Mr. Whyte and to his immediate colleagues, and also to the managers at Glasgow and Dundee offices.

For some years past the bank has had a special scheme under which the staff are able to subscribe for National Savings Certificates,-and I am glad to report that in the present year a record support to the War Savings Campaign through these Certificates has been forthcoming from our staff.


I now beg to propose that the report, containing a statement of the accounts and balance-sheet, be approved, and that out of the profits of the year a dividend at the rate of 17 per cent. per annum for the half-year, under deduction of tax, be declared in conformity therewith.

The report was approved, and the governor, deputy-governor, extra- ordinary directors, and the retiring ordinary directors were re-elected and auditors were re-appointed for the enstung"year. d