Swiss private bank Union Bancaire Privée (UBP) announced last week it would acquire the Luxembourg subsidiary of Sweden's Carnegie Investment Bank. UBP entered into an agreement to acquire Banque Carnegie Luxembourg , which offers private banking services to Nordic clients, to reinforce its presence in the Grand Duchy. The deal, which comes at a time of consolidation in private banking in the Grand Duchy, will boost UBP's assets under management in Luxembourg to nearly CHF24 billion (€20 billion).
Why make this acquisition in Luxembourg?
This acquisition is important to us globally because Luxembourg is our European hub. It's the only booking centre, so the only banking licence we have in an EU country.
Getting to the critical size in our European hub is obviously an important strategic topic for us and the Carnegie acquisition comes exactly as part of this strategy.
How does Carnegie fit in with your existing operations?
We have so far had a limited presence in the Nordic countries, except for some important developments in the institutional world where we have a global agreement with [Swedish bank] SEB in the asset management field, but in terms of private banking – we have had limited coverage.
The whole set up is very complimentary to ours and again it brings us global size in terms of private banking activity in Luxembourg.
Has Brexit had any impact on your focus on Luxembourg?
It certainly has some impact because London does not appear as a proper alternative. We still believe very strongly in the London potential for private banking activities – but not as a European base.
Will all the staff at Banque Carnegie transfer to UBP?
We have informed all the Carnegie staff last Friday. The announcement was very positively perceived in terms of strategy for the group and in terms of future potential for the staff.
We are now reviewing all the structure. We are just starting the integration project and we will come up with a target operating model by the end of July as part of our plan and that's where we will define the full set-up which will include the current UBP set-up and the Carnegie set-up – there's no decision taken at this stage, it will depend on the target operating model.
We also have some additional developments in Luxembourg in terms of services, in terms of activities. We have been very active in hiring in the last few months in terms of our private banking activity in Luxembourg.
What kind of additional services and activities?
We have now a Milan branch which is active. This is in particular a project that is being developed from Luxembourg because Luxembourg is the mother company and the booking centre which is used for our Italian client base.
We have several projects of the same nature in order to develop both the booking capacity to serve the European market but also the product and servicing offering again to serve properly the European markets that we target from Luxembourg.
Will this be your last acquisition in Luxembourg or can we expect more?
It's an important location, we have been looking at the market constantly. We are very happy that we found the opportunity and a very strong complimentary approach with the Carnegie group for this acquisition. We are still looking at the market, yes, but it's difficult to say if there will be others.
CEO Private Banking