The FT reports he will lead a consortium of private equity groups Blackstone and Anacap. It is thought the group will table an offer this week.
RBS is being forced to sell the branches under European state aid rules after it accepted a taxpayer bailout during the financial crisis. Politicians hope the sell-off will boost competition in high street banking.
Hughes’ group is one of three in the running, according to people familiar with the situation.
The FT said the other two bidders are a group led by US private equity outfit Corsair and a group of 20 UK asset managers, including Schroders and Threadneedle, led by ex-Tesco finance director Andrew Higginson.
It said the unofficial deadline for bids is the middle of this week.