Private banking: ABN Amro gets back onto the front foot
Leaner, more transparent and definitely more modern, ABN Amro may have retreated to Europe, but its private bank chiefs’ sights are fixed firmly on growth.
Over the last 10 years, many of the world’s private banks have been forced to withdraw from a global footprint in favour of a more streamlined, less complex and more efficient business model.
ABN Amro epitomizes that journey. For the Dutch bank it has been a long and complicated road that began with the misjudged takeover in 2007 by RBS, Fortis and Santander. This led to it being split up, parts sold off and the bank and private bank taken over by the Dutch government in 2010.
Seven years later, ABN Amro is on the front foot again. At the end of 2015, the Dutch government publicly relisted the company through an IPO, selling 20% of its shares and putting it back into a position of growth. Last year, the group finally offloaded its Asian private banking business, marking a new era as a European-focused entity.
“I like to think we haven’t shrunk so much as moved forward,” says Jeroen Rijpkema, chief executive of ABN Amro Private Banking International. He points out that it is not often realised that ABN Amro is the third-largest private bank in the eurozone.