SocGen's new model business
In 2004, the Société Générale Group created a new division, Global Investment Management and Services (GIMS) to seek out synergies between asset management, private banking and securities services. Shahnaz Mahmud explores how successful the French bank has been at identifying these connections and the impact on SGAM.
France has a long-standing reputation as a style-leader. Even Napoleon Bonaparte made his mark by reviving the lace industry after the French Revolution. But in recent years the French fashion houses have had to contend with stiff rivalry from London designers. In the world of finance, the old-style French bank-owned houses face a similar challenge. How do they stave off competition from Anglo-Saxon investment managers without compromising their dearly-held French values?
In an attempt to deal with competition at home and abroad, two years ago the Société Générale Group created a new division, Global Investment Management and Services (GIMS). This was established in January 2004, under the guidance of Philippe Collas, who had been chairman and CEO of Société Générale Asset Management (SGAM), working in close collaboration with Alain Clot, former head of strategy at the bank, and then deputy CEO at SGAM. Clot subsequently became chairman and CEO of SGAM, whilst Collas now heads the entire GIMS business. The aim was to build greater synergies between internal divisions such as asset management, private banking, e-banking and securities services, improving efficiency and cross-selling, and so aid growth. Acquisition was also to play a part, and the group recently bought Unicredito's euros 455 billion Italian custody business for euros 548 million.