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RBC Buys LatAM, African, Caribbean Private Banking Business From UK Firm

Tom Burroughes

20 March 2012

Royal Bank of Canada said today that its global wealth division RBC Wealth Management will acquire the Latin American, Caribbean and African private banking business of Coutts, the wealth division of Royal Bank of Scotland Group.

The business has client assets in excess of $2 billion, RBC said in a statement. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The deal is expected to be closed in the latter part of the second quarter of this year.

“This business represents an excellent opportunity to increase our market share with high net worth and ultra high net worth clients in key high-growth markets while delivering very attractive returns,” said George Lewis, group head, RBC Wealth Management.

The business to be acquired includes clients who reside in Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa, as well as key private banking staff based primarily in Geneva, Switzerland and also includes a team in the Cayman Islands, RBC said.

“Our Geneva-based business has built a reputation for serving the often complex needs of emerging market clients,” said Karen Simpson, general manager and head of private banking, Royal Bank of Canada (Suisse) “This acquisition will enable us to increase our client base significantly in these three important target regions.”

Shifting focus

Coutts said this business has total client assets of £1.5 billion, accounting for only 2 per cent of all its assets.

The firm said the decision to exit the markets “follows a careful strategic review which was initiated earlier last year by Rory Tapner, CEO, wealth division of Royal Bank of Scotland Group.”

Coutts is concentrating on geographies including the UK, Switzerland, Middle East, Russia/CIS and selected countries in Asia.

“We have made substantial progress executing against our strategic growth plan over the last year, as evidenced by our recent financial results. Our Latin American, Caribbean and African business is solid.  However, it requires further investment to reach our preferred market share and we have determined to focus our efforts on our core markets as mentioned above,” he said.

“In RBC Wealth Management, we have found a private wealth manager who is committed to growing their business in these markets over the long term,” he added.