Butterfield Trust eyes more acquisitions in Asia

Pedro Gonçalves
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Butterfield Trust eyes more acquisitions in Asia

The Bank of N.T. Butterfield & Son is turning its attention to ramping up its Asian operations, after it acquired the Deutsche Bank Global Trust Solutions business (excluding the US operations), earlier this year.

"Our Singapore based Asian business is performing well we've bedded in clients and new revenue streams are emerging. I think the integration's going well," Michael Collins, chairman and chief executive officer of Butterfield group told specialised media outlet The Asset in Singapore.

Listed on the New York and Bermuda stock exchanges, Butterfield is Bermuda's oldest and largest independent financial institution set up in 1858. 

Butterfield has been working with clients in Asia for over three decades. Most recently it acquired Deutsche Bank's Global Trust Solutions which had operations in the Cayman Islands, Switzerland, Guernsey, Singapore and Mauritius.

The acquisition was completed earlier this year. Asia assets comprise about 20% of Butterfield Trust's total assets under administration.

As well as covering Southeast Asia out of Singapore, Collins also wants to ramp up the North Asian business. His firm has a long track record with both institutional and private clients in Hong Kong where Butterfield previously had a banking license.

"There's a long history between Bermuda and Hong Kong, and Butterfield's certainly benefited from that in terms of relationships. We don't currently have a presence in Hong Kong," adds Collins hinting that there may be one at some point.

The firm's expansion has come at a perfect time. Experts say Asia is at the cusp of one of the world's largest transfers of wealth estimated at more than $3trn over the next decade. Yet some studies show that less than a third of high net worth families in Asia have established a plan for wealth transfer and succession.

Collins says Butterfield is well positioned to compete with global banking players in its home territory of Bermuda as well as in other offshore centres but ruled out obtaining a banking license in either of Asia's leading wealth hubs.

"I think we understand where we're able to compete on the banking side. And it really works in a place like Bermuda, Cayman, and the Channel Islands. I think we would be unlikely to have a banking presence here or in Hong Kong, given the competition," Collins said.