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ZEDRA Buys BNP Paribas' Singapore Trust Arm

Tom Burroughes, Group Editor , 10 January 2020

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There has been plenty of M&A activity in the funds, administration and corporate services space in recent years. A number of banks and other groups have sold off trusts businesses, in some cases because the compliance burdens involved, when set against the scale of the operations, make such operations unprofitable. 

ZEDRA, the international corporate, fund and wealth services business, has bought BNP Paribas Singapore Trust Corporation, subject to regulatory approval. This follows deals signed last year in the Isle of Man, Switzerland and Nordic markets.

Earlier this week ZEDRA also announced that Corsair Capital has completed its majority purchase of the firm. 

BNP Paribas Wealth Management’s trusts business in Singapore serves Asian ultra-high net worth and high net worth markets.

The deal will add to ZEDRA’s headcount of over 550 industry experts across 13 countries, and will bring Zedra’s combined staff numbers in Singapore to 30.

“This latest deal will bring additional scale and expertise to our already fast growing Singapore office. The Asian markets are very important for ZEDRA and globally continue to represent one of the most productive sources of new high quality clients," Ivo Hemelraad, chief executive of Zedra, said.

In recent years a number of banks and other groups have sold off trust businesses, in some cases because the compliance burdens involved, when set against the scale of the operations, make the operations unprofitable. 

Explaining its decision to spin off the trusts business, Arnaud Tellier, CEO of BNP Paribas Wealth Management Asia, said: “We have over the years offered and advised our clients the best possible solutions for their trust needs leveraging on this open architecture platform and therefore see the transfer of this business activity being beneficial and in the interests of our clients”.

BNP Paribas Wealth Management will work with ZEDRA as a preferred partner for trust services, ZEDRA said.

There has been plenty of M&A activity in the funds, administration and corporate services space in recent years. Earlier in 2019 SMP Group of Companies, a global professional and financial services group based in the Isle of Man, bought Jersey-based Helm Trust Company, a trust and corporate services provider. A number of banks, such as Investec, ABN AMRO and Barclays have spun off trusts and associated businesses. ZEDRA bought the Barclays UK trusts business and completed that deal in April 2016. In December 2017, investor services firm SGG Group bought Jersey-based First Names Group from AnaCap Financial Services, the private equity organisation. Among other deals, in 2014, Butterfield Group, part of Bermuda-based Butterfield, completed its acquisition of Guernsey-based Legis Group, taking on its trusts and corporate services business.

Other deals: Salamanca, the UK-based Investec Trust Group; ABN AMRO sold its trusts business a decade ago to Equity Trust. Rival Netherlands-based ING spun off its trusts business in 2007. In the Channel Islands, deals have included the investment by Close Brothers Private Equity in Jersey Trust Company and Kleinwort Benson’s acquisition of Close Brothers Offshore Group. In 2011, TMF and Equity Trust merged. Australia and New Zealand Banking Group has completed the sale of its ANZ Trustees business to Equity Trustees.

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