M and A

ABN AMRO Eyes Another German Private Bank Purchase – Media

Tom Burroughes Group Editor London 24 June 2024

ABN AMRO Eyes Another German Private Bank Purchase – Media

Europe's largest economy is an important wealth sector, and several banking groups see it as a growth engine. ABN AMRO has built a sizeable business in the country, and a media report said that it is not done with its acquisition ambitions.

ABN AMRO wants to expand its German footprint as it gets close to agreeing to buy HSBC’s wealth management operation, formerly called Trinkaus & Burkhardt, media reports said.

The German newspaper, Boersenzeitung, said a deal is in the offing. It did not specify sources. WealthBriefing has asked Netherlands-listed ABN AMRO for comment. It had not received a reply at the point of going to press.

The bank, headquartered in Amsterdam, already operates a German private banking business, Bethmann, which is based in Frankfurt with branches across Germany. A decade ago, Bethmann told this news service about its growth strategy. In late May, the bank agreed to buy China-based Fosun's private bank Hauck Aufhaeuser Lampe for €672 million ($730 million). 

The Dutch lender has been building its German presence for some time. Back in 2011, what was then called Delbrück Bethmann Maffei, part of ABN AMRO, took all the shares in LGT Bank Deutschland, a 100 per cent subsidiary of Liechtenstein’s LGT Group. A decade ago, Credit Suisse sold its German private bank to Bethmann Bank.

The M&A speculation continues at a time when the world's banking sector continues to see a measure of consolidation, most dramatically in Switzerland last year with UBS's purchase of its rival, Credit Suisse. In Germany, there were attempts – later abandoned – by Deutsche Bank to buy rival Commerzbank. Speculation resurfaced in January this year, but it appears to have faded again.

Asset increase
If a deal is agreed with HSBC, the deal will boost ABN AMRO’s assets under management by €26 billion, up from €70 billion.

In the first quarter of 2024, ABN AMRO said it logged a net profit of €674 million, rising from €523 million a year earlier. Its Common Equity Tier 1 ratio – a measure of a bank’s capital “shock absorber” – has declined over the past year, to 13.8 per cent from 15 per cent in Q1 2023.

Reuters quoted ABN AMRO as saying it is fully focused on the addition of Hauck Aufhaeuser Lampe and on seeking regulatory approval for it. It made no further comment; HSBC would not comment on the report, the report said.

The newswire said HSBC is seeking to overhaul its German operations.

Germany’s wealth management and private banking market is a focus also for lenders such as Paris-listed BNP Paribas, as it explained to WealthBriefing here. BNP Paribas said it is looking at acquisitions in the country. 

Europe’s largest economy is home to a large, primarily domestic, single-family offices sector, as featured in coverage here and here. The sector is relatively “under the radar” in terms of regular media coverage.

Register for WealthBriefing today

Gain access to regular and exclusive research on the global wealth management sector along with the opportunity to attend industry events such as exclusive invites to Breakfast Briefings and Summits in the major wealth management centres and industry leading awards programmes