MLP withdraws from the UK and

Pictet launches German onshore
private bank…

ING sets up UK private
banking operation…


MLP withdraws from the UK and

German financial services adviser MLP is closing its unprofitable
operations in the UK and Spain. The UK operations have been sold to
the financial planning group Towry Law. MLP said it planned for the
Spanish operations to be sold to national suppliers, without

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MLP has 81 client advisers in the UK and Spain and a total of 7,000
clients in the two countries. Last year, it closed its Swiss
operation. MLP announced the closure will lead to restructuring
expenses in the “single-digit million euros” range. Despite the
restructuring charges, MLP said, it still expects earnings before
interest and taxes of €110 million ($152 million) in continued
operations for 2007 versus €84.9 million in 2006. 

MLP chief executive Uwe Schroeder-Wildberg said after the closure,
MLP will focus on its profitable operations in Austria and the
Netherlands in addition to its German home market.

The closures have been hinted at by MLP several times in the past
year, during which it voiced dissatisfaction over its Spanish and
UK operations. For the first quarter, MLP posted an earnings before
interest and taxes loss of €2.5 million on foreign operations, up
from an earnings before interest and taxes loss of €700,000 a year
earlier. For the whole of 2006, MLP’s foreign operations recorded a
pre-tax loss of €6.2 million, up from a €5.7 million loss in


Pictet launches German onshore private bank

The Swiss private bank Pictet & Cie has launched an onshore
banking branch in Germany with several new recruits. Jörn Struve
and Michael Lepach will head the German business. Struve previously
headed the asset management arm of German private bank Hauck &
Aufhauser. Lepach was an executive in Deutsche Bank’s Wilhelm von
Finck subsidiary.

Former Deutsche Bank executive Andreas Mueller, a specialist on tax
structures, will also join and bring Pictet’s payroll to 30 staff
in Frankfurt. Its onshore business in Germany had, until now, been
co-ordinated from London. 


ING sets up UK private banking operation

Dutch bancassurance group ING plans to re-establish a private
client presence in London. It is setting up a new office in the
city for its international private banking business and has hired
five former ABN AMRO bankers to help its initiative. The new office
will be aimed at clients from Eastern Europe, Asia and the Middle
East, and European Union citizens resident in the UK.

ING did have an onshore private client base via Baring Asset
Management and Willams de Broe in London until divesting these
units several years ago. ING plans to have around 20 client
relationship managers operating out of London by 2009.


StanChart targets wealthy Australians

Standard Chartered’s (StanChart) private bank is targeting high net
worth Australian expatriates across Asia-Pacific, in its latest
initiative in wealth management. 

Its new full-service financial services package is aimed at wealthy
Australians based offshore. An estimated 3,000 Australians are
resident in Singapore, each having more than $1 million in net

Australians have particular needs, especially in tax and real
estate advice, said Peter Flavel, head of private banking at
Standard Chartered. 

Following the Singapore launch, the service will be introduced in
six other areas in Asia and the Middle East, including Japan,
Indonesia and Dubai. StanChart is aiming to capture about 15
percent of the Australian expatriate market by 2011. 


Citi opens first trust operation in Asia

Citigroup’s Citi Trust arm is expanding its operations in Asia for
the first time with the opening of a new office in

The venture, Cititrust (Singapore), will have a trust team of 14
serving more than 350 clients and catering to the wealth
preservation needs of global high net worth individuals residing
outside Singapore.

Deepak Sharma, CEO of Citi’s Global Wealth Management International
operations, said: “There is a rising demand for fiduciary services
among our Asian clients which we can best fulfil from an Asian
trust centre.”

Services offered include the establishment and management of
private investment companies, custom trusts, charitable trusts,
bundled investment trusts, private trust companies and wealth
transfer planning. 


ICBC goes it alone in private banking

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has signalled
that it is preparing to set up a private banking unit, but has
ruled out a foreign partner for the project. Many Chinese banks are
competing to attract business-managing money from wealthy clients,
several with foreign bank alliances.

About one-tenth of ICBC’s 170 million personal banking clients are
high-end customers, some of whom could be future targets for
private banking services. 


Credit Suisse buys liquidation specialist

Credit Suisse has bought a 33 percent stake in Great American
Group, a US-based asset management and liquidation company, for an
undisclosed price. The stake seems to be aimed at taking advantage
of current securities market turmoil in international financial
markets, including the leveraged buyout sector.

Great American provides liquidation services, auctions, wind-down
services, appraisals and valuations. 

“We view Great American not only as an attractive investment, but a
strategic partner that will help us expand our leveraged finance
franchise,” said Don Pollard, co-head of leveraged


Credit Suisse hires for Australian push

Credit Suisse is making a second attempt to build up a private
banking presence in Australia, after the first man it hired for the
job departed after only months in the job. 

It has recruited Merrill Lynch’s Nick Kalikajaros as managing
director and head of private banking for Australia. Kalikajaros
will start in October and will be based in Sydney. At Merrill, he
was head of global private clients for Australia and New

Kalikajaros replaces Cedric Davies, who was appointed late last
year to head Credit Suisse’s drive to establish a private banking
business in Australia. It is not yet known where he went after his
brief six-month tenure.


Irish wealthiest in EU

The Irish are the wealthiest people on average in the European
Union, due to exceptional gains in property values and aggressive
savings rates, research by the Bank of Ireland showed.

Its annual Wealth of the Nation report estimated that Ireland has
at least 33,000 millionaires, up 10 percent from 2005. The average
individual net wealth in Ireland rose 19 percent to €196,000 in