SocGen To Buy All Of Kleinwort Benson's UK, Channel Islands Wealth Businesses

Tom Burroughes Group Editor London 15 March 2016

SocGen To Buy All Of Kleinwort Benson's UK, Channel Islands Wealth Businesses

The French banking group is buying the UK and Channel Islands wealth management businesses of BHF Kleinwort Benson Group, continuing M&A activity in the sector.

Hambro and Kleinwort Benson, two of the oldest banking names in Europe, are joining forces.

Paris-listed Societe Generale today agreed a share purchase agreement with European banking group Oddo & Cie to acquire all of Kleinwort Benson and Kleinwort Benson Channel Islands Holdings, BHF Kleinwort Benson Group's UK and Channel Islands wealth management business.

The share purchase agreement completes a process announced last November, when SocGen formed a binding agreement with Oddo & Cie to buy the UK and Channel Islands entities.

“Subject to regulatory approvals, Kleinwort Benson will be acquired and eventually combined with Societe Generale Private Banking Hambros, the group’s private banking business in the UK and Channel Islands, to create one of the leading private banks in the UK market,” SocGen said in a statement.

The transaction is yet another example of merger and acquisition activity in Europe’s wealth management industry; 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. According to a recent study by (see here) 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.

In today’s announcement, SocGen said its purchase will not have a significant financial impact. The purchase price wasn’t disclosed.

“This acquisition will bring together two of the most recognised names in private banking, with shared values and a shared heritage in the UK and Channel Islands established through their deep-rooted history here. It will enable us to leverage on the expertise and strengths of the teams from each business to better serve our clients through the creation of a distinctive industry leader in wealth management,” said Jean-Francois Mazaud, head of Societe Generale Private Banking.

“With the growth of the UK wealth management industry set to continue, the complementary nature of Kleinwort Benson and SGPB Hambros will build on our unique expertise. We will support our clients across all their needs, from banking to domestic and international wealth planning and fiduciary services to investment management, market access, structured products and specialised services,” added Mazaud.

Both the Hambros and Kleinwort Benson banks have long histories. SGPB Hambros dates back to the Hambros Bank business founded in 1839 in the UK as a merchant bank financing domestic and international businesses. Kleinwort Benson, created from a business in 1786 to finance trade in England, has enjoyed a similar history.

Grégoire Charbit, partner at Oddo & Cie, added: “This deal is consistent with our strategy to focus on the Franco-German market.”

Oddo & Cie is a European banking firm dating back to 1849.


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