Wealth management: Private banks on the block
State-supported banks are being forced to sell; New entrant RHJ International will build on Kleinwort Benson
Banks are picking up the restructuring pace, spurred on in part by government demands that they repay capital and, in Europe, by the competition authorities’ insistence that those rescued by governments should now shed assets.
Private banking units are suddenly in the spotlight. They appear large enough morsels and sufficiently discrete to be carved out and got rid of quickly, allowing a selling bank to show willing to the competition authorities and raise capital in the process.
Timothy Collins: makes his entry into European banking
ING sold its Swiss private bank to Julius Baer last month for SFr520 million ($509 million) and is also selling its Asian private banking operation. Also last month, Commerzbank sold for £225 million the Kleinwort Benson unit it acquired along with Dresdner to RHJ International, a Belgium-listed investment company set up by Ripplewood founder Timothy Collins. And it’s not just a European phenomenon. Bank of America announced in October the sale of First Republic, the wealth manager it acquired at the start of this year along with Merrill Lynch, to a group of investors including management and private equity funds.