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Opinion

Why Natixis is bidding goodbye to the public markets

As the unlisted firm shrinks further in investment banking, its asset management business might IPO on its own.

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Natixis’s decision to wave goodbye to its public shareholders marks the end of a painful two decades on the stock exchange. Its future now, as a 100%-owned subsidiary of French mutual group BPCE, will be much more akin to DZ Bank, the unlisted institution housing the corporate banking activities of Germany’s cooperative banks, as well as their asset management and insurance businesses.

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Nicolas Namias, Natixis

This overdue move comes after outsized losses last spring, related to the effect of Europe’s dividend ban on Natixis’s equity derivatives positions. Those losses heralded the arrival of a new chief executive, Nicolas Namias, in August.

Namias and his colleagues, including BPCE CEO Laurent Mignon, justified their decision to buy out Natixis’s 29% minority shareholders in February because of what they see as an opportunity to make the group more streamlined and efficient – which is apparently different to cutting costs. They have said it is more about business development and revenue growth, and about how well Natixis exploits the group’s resources.

Natixis, in other words, should in future make better use of the cooperative group’s corporate centre and capital base – and vice versa.

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