Société Générale eyes sale of UK private banking arm

Pedro Gonçalves
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Société Générale eyes sale of UK private banking arm

Société Générale is planning the sale of its UK private banking arm Kleinwort Hambros, Bloomberg has reported.

The bank is said to be working alongside Rothschild & Co on the matter and already approached potential buyers.

Both Rothschild & Co or Kleinwort Hambros declined to comment on the sale. Bloomberg cited "people with knowledge of the matter."

In 2016, Société Générale bought the UK wealth management operations of Oddo & Cie's BHF Kleinwort Benson Group SA unit, which traces its roots back to 1786, and merged it with its own Hambros division. The combined business managed about $17.6bn of assets as of the end of last year in offices the UK, Guernsey, Jersey and Gibraltar.

Lately, Societe Generale has divested various businesses that it considers to be non-core assets, following a poor performance of the overall group. Its share price is down by nearly a third since the start of the year.

At the same time, the bank plans to trim its workforce by nearly 1,600. The aim is to reduce annual expenses by around €500m.

This February, the bank sold its Belgian private banking unit to ABN Amro.

While Societe Generale is exiting its UK business, other banks are bulking up. Union Bancaire Privée agreed to buy London-based wealth manager ACPI Investment Managers last year. Julius Baer is also adding relationship managers under its UK head, David Durlacher.

 

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