20 November 2019
Clifford Chance advises The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc on its inaugural Social Bond
International law firm Clifford Chance, as counsel to The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc (“RBSG”) on its £40bn Euro Medium Term Note Programme, has provided advice in relation to its inaugural Social Bond, the first exclusively social bond by a UK financial institution and the first issued under the RBSG’s new Framework, which provides a basis for the future issuance of Green, Social or Sustainability Bonds.
The issuance, which raised €750m (circa £650m) in senior unsecured format and saw strong demand particularly from institutional investors, highlights RBSG's commitment to addressing regional inequality through lending provided to SMEs in deprived areas of the UK and ensures the bank can continue to deliver on its sustainability ambitions, while diversifying its investor base. The bond is listed on the London Stock Exchange’s Sustainable Bond Market – one of only a handful of social bonds to be listed in this section to date – and the bank will provide an impact report to investors at least annually, measuring the jobs created and retained as a result of the lending.
The team was led by London-based capital markets partner Paul Deakins with support from associate John Thomson. The transaction represents another industry "first" mandate for Clifford Chance, with the firm having advised the placement agent on the launch of the world's first sovereign blue bond by the Republic of Seychelles in 2018. You can read more about sustainable finance developments across the world and various ESG-related risks and opportunities for banks, corporates and asset managers, amongst others, in our recent briefing Growing the Green Economy.