M and A

SocGen Completes Acquisition Of Kleinwort Benson's UK, Channel Islands Wealth Businesses

Tom Burroughes Group Editor 7 June 2016

SocGen Completes Acquisition Of Kleinwort Benson's UK, Channel Islands Wealth Businesses

The French banking group has completed its purchase of the UK and Channel Islands wealth management businesses of BHF Kleinwort Benson Group, as originally announced in March this year.

Societe Generale today confirmed that its acquisition of Kleinwort Benson in the UK and Kleinwort Benson Channel Islands Holdings Limited from Oddo & Cie has been completed. The combined SGPB Hambros and Kleinwort Benson business will represent more than £14 billion ($20.4 billion) of assets under management.

(To view the original story about the agreement in March this year, see here.)

The acquired businesses will be integrated with Societe Generale Private Banking Hambros (SGPB Hambros), planned for early 2017. Until full integration, they will operate as independent entities within Societe Generale group, the Paris-listed lender said in a statement.

Eric Barnett, chief executive of SGPB Hambros, is appointed CEO of Kleinwort Benson with immediate effect, replacing Martha Boeckenfeld who has decided to leave BHF KB Group after the transaction was completed. Subject to regulatory approval, he will be proposed as CEO of the new combined private bank.

The deal is one of a number of M&A transactions in Europe’s wealth management sector, driven by a desire among some firms to build economies of scale and boost geographic reach, while the vendors are often looking to get out of sub-scale activity, in some cases pressured by rising regulatory costs. Recent examples have included the purchase by Geneva-headquartered SYZ Group of the Swiss wealth arm of Royal Bank of Canada, while Julius Baer has agreed to acquire Commerzbank International SA Luxembourg. In November last year, Banque J Safra Sarasin agreed to acquire Bank Leumi’s Luxembourg private banking business for an undisclosed sum. EFG, the Swiss private bank, recently agreed to buy Lugano-headquartered BSI. According to a recent study by (seehere) Scorpio Partnership, the consultancy, there were a total of 124 deals last year - the largest number in the eight years it has tracked this activity.

“The acquisition of Kleinwort Benson reflects Societe Generale’s growth strategy in private banking in its core markets of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and is aligned with its ambition to be the relationship-focused private bank of reference,” Societe Generale said.

The transaction has been approved by the relevant regulatory authorities. The acquisition has no significant financial impact on the Societe Generale group, it said.


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