As confirmed to Funds Society by sources familiar with the operation, Santander Private Banking has reached an agreement with BNP Paribas in Miami to take over its private banking division, with approximately $3 billion in assets under management.
The news was reported to the staff of both companies last Friday. On becoming aware of the transaction, Funds Society contacted Santander for further details; the company, however, refrained from making any comments.
“BNP Paribas Wealth Management has decided to sell its activity in Miami as part of Wealth Management’s overall strategy to focus on markets where the bank has a retail banking presence or where its Wealth Management platform is more developed. BNP Paribas Wealth Management remains fully committed to the US through its Bank of the West franchise, as part of the Group's plan in the US. Additionally, BNP Paribas Wealth Management remains fully committed to Latin America and other international markets", sources from BNP commented to Funds Society.
It had been rumored for months that, following orders from Paris, the French bank had hung up its “For Sale” sign. Prior to Santander, Safra Bank, amongst others, had clearly shown an interest in BNP Miami, but it was the Spanish institution that finally reached an agreement of which the financial details have yet to be disclosed.
BNP Paribas Wealth Management’s workforce in Miami is headed by Eric Georges as president and CEO, and consists of 90 people, 20 of whom are bankers; these employees will join the staff of Santander Private Banking.
BNP Paribas has been offering wealth management services in Miami for Latin American clients since 1983. The Wealth Management division of BNP, in which private banking services are integrated, has more than 6,000 employees in 27 countries.
BNP Paribas’ portfolio consists mainly of Latin American clients. The transfer of portfolios for their integration in Santander will proceed according to the implicit consent of the client. BNP clients shall therefore be notified of the transaction, and, unless the client states otherwise, the transfer of portfolios will follow.
It should be recalled that last December Santander carried out a similar operation in order to acquire Latin American and Caribbean customers from Barclays Wealth & Investment Management, a business that the British bank controlled from Miami and New York; that portfolio was worth $5 billion at time of transfer.