Indosuez Wealth Management (WM), the global wealth management arm of the French bank Crédit Agricole, has signed an agreement to buy a majority stake in Italy’s Banca Leonardo, in a deal that will increase Indosuez WM’s assets under management by €5.9bn (US$6.8bn, £5.2bn), and expand its presence in Italy.
Indosuez WM said it had reached the deal with Banca Leonardo’s main shareholders – GBH SpA, Exor SA, Eurazeo SA, Swilux SA, and Torreal SA – to acquire 67.7% of the Italian bank.
Italy’s Agnelli family is said to have been among Banca Leonardo’s other stakeholders.
The wealth management company added it might eventually look to acquire the remaining stake in Banca Leonardo. The purchase announced today is expected to be finalised during the first half of 2018.
Banca Leonardo is headquartered in Milan, where it was founded in 1999, and has eight branches in Italy and one in Lugano, Switzerland, according to its website. It says the “talent” of famous Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci “inspires the way we operate”, citing his, and the bank’s, “independence, professionalism, expertise, soundness and the Italian spirit”.
As reported by International Investment‘s sister publication, Investment Europe, UBS last year bought what had been a French arm of Banco Leonardo, which did business there as Banque Leonardo France.
In a statement, the French bank said its acquisition of Banca Leonardo would enable Indosuez WM to boost its existing wealth management capacity in the Italian market, and is in line with Crédit Agricole’s medium-term expansion plans.
Those plans, dubbed “Shaping Indosuez 2020”, include “selective acquisitions in our key domestic markets”, Indosuez WM chief executive Paul de Leusse said.
“The wealth management sector in Italy, which is expected to grow at a rate of 4% per annum, offers great opportunities for growth and innovation,” he added.
The Banca Leonardo takeover comes months after Indosuez WM acquired the Singapore and Hong Kong private banking businesses of its rival, Credit Industriel & Commerce (CIC).
Re-branding in 2016
As reported, Crédit Agricole announced in January 2016 it was re-branding its private banking business as Indosuez Wealth Management, as it revived a historic name to begin what it said would be a major expansion that would look to tap into new markets in Asia and across the globe.
Paris-based Crédit Agricole had dropped the Indosuez name from use after the 2004 merger between parent Credit Agricole, Credit Lyonais and Indosuez. Eleven years on, however, the regional connotations of “Indosuez” began to seem more likely to appeal to the new generations of wealthy individuals in countries around the world, the company said last year, in announcing the re-branding.
At the time, Credit Agricole said the Indosuez Wealth Management name would apply to all of its former Crédit Agricole Private Bank operations “across Europe, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific and the Americas”.