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  1. Wealth
September 22, 2009

FT: Banking consolidation to continue with sell-offs

By Spear's

“Two down and plenty to go” could be the motto of investment bankers eyeing up the biggest consolidation in wealth management in years.

“Two down and plenty to go” could be the motto of investment bankers eyeing up the biggest consolidation in wealth management in years.

The two are Commerzbank and Dresdner Bank, the Swiss private banking subsidiaries of Germany’s Commerzbank group, that changed hands in July. The Commerzbank operation, with SFr4.5bn ($4.36bn) under management, went to Vontobel, while the Dresdner unit, with SFr9.4bn, was bought by LGT, the bank owned by Liechtenstein’s ruling family.

Next in line are the private banking operations of ING, the Netherlands-based banking and insurance group selling assets to repay a government bailout.

ING is divesting its Swiss private bank and an international wealth management network in Asia and Europe. The Swiss unit manages about SFr15bn, while Asia and the rest of Europe, excluding some activities not for sale, comprise about SFr49bn. Together the sales are expected to net about SFr2bn.

The assets have attracted strong interest in an auction being handled by JPMorgan. Julius Baer, the Zurich-based group streamlining into a “pure play” private bank, is believed to want both, as does HSBC, the UK-based bank with substantial private banking activities in Switzerland. Among others bidders, Credit Suisse and Standard Chartered dropped out in earlier rounds.

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