Berenberg Bank shows off tailored solution in London

Berenberg Bank has had quite some experience helping wealthy expatriates: some 421 years, to be exact.

However, Germany’s oldest independent bank did not start with expatriate Germans in mind.

Hans and Paul Berenberg were financiers to about 1,000 of their Dutch countrymen who had moved to Hamburg, a booming harbour city in 1590, when the company began.

They lent money to customers and made advance payments on deliveries of their suppliers. Hamburg’s role as a major centre for global trade also made currency exchange vital.

More than four centuries later, Berenberg plans to help German compatriots living in London by opening operations there. Its private bank is opening in Threadneedle Street in the heart of the City.

This is also home to the Bank of England, affectionately known as the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street.

Berenberg is not yet as widely known in the UK as in Germany, despite its balance sheet of €3.4bn and managing assets of more than €25bn. It may have a lower profile in the UK, but it is also about 100 years older than its UK rival Coutts and 82 years older than C Hoare & Co.

It has conducted investment banking in London since 2003 and already has 100 investment banking employees, including 60 equity analysts there. It has had private banking in Switzerland since 1988 and in Austria since last year.

The UK expansion is not instead of further expansion in Germany, where most private banks have only up to 5% of market share.

Ross Elder and Fred Hervey have joined in London from Barclays Wealth as managing directors to spearhead the offering.

Andreas Brodtmann, managing partner at Berenberg responsible for private banking, says: “The UK offers a dynamic entrepreneurial market for us, with good long-term prospects for wealth creation, within which we can add significant value to our clients.”


David Walker

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