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SG conducts a sophisticated repertoire

Is Japan still a tough nut to crack?

François Barbé was head of private banking, Japan, at BNP when that bank merged with Paribas and decided to withdraw its trust bank operation from Japan. Luckily for him Société Générale had just decided to move into the Japanese market, so Barbé switched firms and is now chief executive of a private banking operation that has the respect of many of his peers in the industry. Most banks hoping to “build relationships” with reporters will offer them pens, umbrellas or perhaps a travel clock, but it’s typical of the image that Barbé wants SG to project that the information pack he hands Euromoney when it goes to interview him contains a CD of classical music.

“We aim to be a sophisticated bank for people who are not just interested in investment for investment's sake. In 10 years’ time everyone will be offering more or less the same products, so it’s in the service and the culture we provide that we differentiate ourselves. We are very active in providing cultural activities and events for our clients, but more importantly the sophistication that we hope to represent is reflected by the fact that we are the only foreign trust bank offering high net-worth clients a full range of private banking services and tailor-made solutions.

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