RBS profits beat expectations, to rebrand as NatWest

LONDON, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Royal Bank of Scotland reported a better than expected pre-tax profit of 4.2 billion pounds($5.48 billion)on Friday, as chief executive Alison Rose set out a new strategy including a planned renaming of the taxpayer-backed group to its biggest brand NatWest.

Rose's strategy includes plans to cut back its under-performing investment bank NatWest Markets by reducing its risk weighted assets from 38 billion pounds to 20 billion pounds.

The British lender's profit was 24% higher than 2018 and above the 3.8 billion pounds average of analysts' forecasts compiled by the bank.

RBS announced a dividend of 8 pence for the fourth quarter. ($1 = 0.7662 pounds) (Reporting by Iain Withers and Lawrence White Editing by Rachel Armstrong)