Lombard Int’l to open Belgium office

Lombard International Assurance has announced it will open a new branch office in Brussels in the first half of 2016, as it continues to expand in the wake of its acquisition by Blackstone private equity in October 2014.

The move into Belgium comes after the company announced in January that it would acquire Zurich Eurolife Luxembourg SA’s   so-called Private Banking Solutions business, which is actually an insurance business aimed at high net worth clients. Also last month,  it unveiled plans to move into Asia,  with offices in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Lombard has previously been active in Belgium, a close neighbour of Lombard’s base country of Luxembourg, and it said the opening of a branch in Brussels “further underlines its commitment to the market”.

Lombard International executive chairman John Hillman said: “We are excited to be opening a new branch in Belgium, one of our longest standing markets in Europe.  The move demonstrates our commitment to this important market as we seek to build out our franchise across Europe as the leader in our sector.”

Jurgen Vanhoenacker, the company’s head of sales, marketing and wealth structuring, said: “Our aim is to develop long-term strategic relationships with key wealth management partners globally.  The opening of a new branch in Belgium is an important step in this direction and demonstrates our intent to continue to expand our offering to partners and their clients with on the ground expertise and servicing.”

Last year Blackstone integrated its Lombard business  with that of a US-based insurance company, Philadelphia Financial, which it bought last July. As of last September, the combined businesses had US$75bn (£68bn) under administration.

Prior to being acquired by Blackstone, Lombard International was a subsidiary of Friends Provident, later known as Friends Life, the UK-based insurance company. It was founded in 1991 by John Stone, who retired in 2012 and who now is a partner in Blevins Franks, the international financial advisory firm now based in London.

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