Santander hires 30 to attract LatAm's wealthy

Pedro Gonçalves
Santander hires 30 to attract LatAm's wealthy

Spanish banking group Santander is planning to target the ultra-wealthy as part of a three-year expansion strategy, the Financial Times has reported.

The expansion will be led by Santander wealth management, a new unit created to combine its private banking and asset management operations.

According to the report, the bank plans organic growth instead of takeovers to meet its goals. In this connection, it hired nearly 30 people this year.

"The reason [these clients] are so important is that these are normally families that can make a great impact in their community. They are owners of companies, they create a lot of jobs and a lot of wealth. And they need a single point of contact where they have all these needs solved," Santander wealth management head Victor Matarranz told the FT.

The bank aims to lure the ultra-wealthy in Brazil and Mexico leveraging its existing presence in Latin America. Among the 10 markets where it was looking to focus its growth efforts were Mexico, Chile, Brazil and Argentina.

Julius Baer is working on a deal with Santander to transfer part of its Latin American business to the Spanish bank, according to industry sources.

Under the agreement Santander would take over a portion of the Swiss bank's client accounts in the region following a review period.

In the UK and US, the wealthy will be served through the bank's retail network and its Miami outpost.

Moreover, the bank intends to offer special credit cards for the super-rich, and advisory services on education for clients' heirs.

The private wealth unit targets clients with a minimum of €20m in assets. The bank now targets double-digit growth in the private wealth arm annually for the next three years, reported the Financial Times.