Business as usual for Dexia Asset Management

Dexia has confirmed it is negotiating the sale of its Luxembourg retail and private banking unit and there are widespread rumours it may nationalize its Belgian banking unit, yet Dexia Asset Management claims it remains unaffected.

Dexia Asset Management is part of both Dexia Banque Belgique (which combines Dexia Asset Management and Dexia Insurance Belgium) and Dexia Banque Internationale à Luxembourg (which combines Dexia Asset Management and RBC Dexia Services).

Dexia Group has today confirmed it is conducting “exclusive negotiations with an international group of investors in which the State of Luxembourg will participate for the disposal of Dexia Banque Internationale à Luxembourg.”

Belgian newspaper L’Echo has claimed the buyer of the Luxembourg unit is a Qatar Sovereign Wealth Fund which is supposedly offering €900m for it – a cheap deal, L’Echo wrote, clearly unimpressed by Qatar’s potential bargain buy.

Although the Belgian press has been speculating about a potential nationalization Dexia Banque Belgique, Dexia maintained that it would not decide on the “various options on the future of the Group” until Saturday 8 October.

Nonetheless the threat of a Belgian nationalization and confirmation that Dexia Banque Internationale à Luxembourg is to be sold may have some impact on Dexia Asset Management, whose activities are shared between the Belgian and Luxembourgish entities.

However, the chief executive of Dexia Asset Management, Naïm Abou-Jaoudé, has claimed in a letter posted on his company’s website on Wednesday that his unit is continuing its activities as “business as usual.”

“Dexia AM continues to manage its clients’ assets within a well-capitalized, distinct legal entity,” he wrote.

“As a healthy asset management company with a steadily growing international franchise and a stable team of investment professionals, we will continue to offer our clients high-quality service, transparency and investment solutions suited to their specific needs,” Abou-Jaoudé added.

Abou-Jaoudé concluded the letter on a buoyant note, commenting that he and his colleagues “look towards the future with confidence.”

Dexia AM could not be reached for comment on how changes elsewhere within Dexia Group were affecting its investor base or current activities.

Dexia AM is estimated to manage €86.3bn (as at end March 2011) in assets, distributed among a full range of investment vehicles, including traditional management, alternative management and sustainable management.

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