RBC acquires regional private banking business of Coutts

RBC Wealth Management is set to buy the regional assets of the private banking business of Coutts in the Caribbean, Latin America and Africa. The purchase includes Coutts’ private banking business in Cayman, as well as key private banking staff in Geneva, Switzerland.

Six banking professionals will join RBC Wealth Management in Cayman as part of the deal.

Deanna Bidwell, head of Caribbean at RBC Wealth Management said she is glad that the entire Coutts private banking team will join RBC. “I am delighted to welcome this outstanding group of professionals to our Caribbean team. This further extends our capabilities as one of the leading providers of wealth management services in the Caribbean and I look forward to working with them to grow our business in the region.”

Like Latin America and Africa, the Caribbean is a “definite growth region” and RBC is committed to it in terms of personnel growth, Ms Bidwell said. In addition to Caribbean offices in the Bahamas and Barbados, RBC’s Wealth Management division has maintained a presence in Cayman for forty years, where it has 100 staff.

“This acquisition enhances our presence as the top private bank in the Cayman Islands,” Ms Bidwell said.

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The larger trust side of Coutts’ business in Cayman was not for sale and is unaffected. “More than thirty staff in the Cayman Islands will continue to administer the trusts for our international client base and will work seamlessly with bankers to ensure an exceptional level of service is maintained,” said Martin Hall, managing director in wealth planning services at Coutts.

He said, “Careful consideration has been given to identify a buyer – RBC Wealth Management – with the same blend of culture, service and investment offering as Coutts in order to minimise the impact on our clients.”

The sale of Coutts’ regional businesses follows a strategic review by Rory Tapner, the CEO of the Wealth division of Royal Bank of Scotland Group, the parent company of Coutts. The review announced in March 2012 aims to focus the business on growth in key markets in the UK, Switzerland, Middle East, Russia/CIS and selected countries in Asia.

“We have made substantial progress executing against our strategic growth plan over the last year, as evidenced by our recent financial results. Our Latin American, Caribbean and African business is solid,” Mr Tapner said. “However, it requires further investment to reach our preferred market share and we have determined to focus our efforts on our core markets.”

He added, “In RBC Wealth Management, we have found a private wealth manager who is committed to growing their business in these markets over the long term. We have every confidence that RBC will continue to offer our clients the excellent level of service which they have come to expect.”

In total the sale includes client assets in excess of US$2 billion.

“This business represents an excellent opportunity to increase our market share with high net worth and ultra high net worth clients in key high growth markets while delivering very attractive returns,” said George Lewis, group head, RBC Wealth Management. “As the sixth-largest wealth manager in the world, we can offer these clients the very high level of personal service and global capabilities that they expect from a top tier international firm.”

About 10 per cent of RBC’s clients are based in emerging markets. In Latin America RBC has wealth offices in Chile, Uruguay and Sao Paolo but it also serves emerging markets clients from its Swiss operations.

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