UBP to acquire RBS’ private banking business Coutts

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Swiss asset manager Union Bancaire Privée (UBP) has announced the firm has reached an agreement to acquire Coutts, the international private banking and wealth management business of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

The cost of this acquisition has not been disclosed but according to Reuters, RBS was expecting last year to sell Coutts for $1bn (€922.6m).

Following RBS’ decision to create a UK-focused bank, the transaction includes business managed from Switzerland, Monaco, the Middle East, Singapore and Hong Kong, and assets under management of over CHF30bn (€28.6bn).

The firm commented that Coutts has “a strong foothold in markets where, until this point, UBP had a limited presence.”

UBP will also strengthen its presence in Switzerland and in Monaco. The acquisition of Coutts will boost its footprint in growth markets such as Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia, and increase its asset base in select European markets.

Guy de Picciotto, UBP’s CEO, stated: “This acquisition confirms our commitment in further developing our wealth management business and represents a significant milestone in our growth strategy. This is particularly true for high-potential markets such as Asia, where the international business of Coutts has built long-standing relationships with high net worth clients.”

The transaction remains subject to the requisite regulatory and other approvals being obtained.

UBP, which has CHF98.7bn (€94.3bn) of assets under management, will seek to obtain a banking license in Hong Kong, subject to the approval of the local regulatory authority.

Since a few years, UBP shows appetite for external growth as the Swiss asset manager also purchased Llyods and Santander’s international private banking businesses, respectively in 2013 and 2012, as well as the Swiss business of ABN Amro in 2011.

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Adrien Paredes-Vanheule
Adrien Paredes-Vanheule is French-Speaking Europe Correspondent for InvestmentEurope, covering France, Belgium, Geneva and Monaco. Prior to joining InvestmentEurope, he spent almost five years writing for various publications in Monaco, primarily as a criminal and financial court reporter. Before that, he worked for newspapers and radio stations in France, in particular in Lyon.

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