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Thursday, 23rd January 2020
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International firms move in to capture Irish HNWI market Back  
The growing number of high net worth individuals (HNWIs) is leading to increased interest in this market from international private banking firms. HSBC has become the latest international private banking firm to establish an operation in Ireland, following Citigroup's move into the market through its acquisition of Morgan Stanley Quilter in late 2006.
HSBC has become the latest international private banking firm to establish an operation in Ireland, following Citigroup's move into the market through its acquisition of Morgan Stanley Quilter in late 2006.

While many of the UK's top private banks already offer services in the Irish market, up until now most have done so without putting a presence on the ground. With over 30,000 millionaires in Ireland, of whom approximately 250 have a net worth of over ?500 million, according to industry estimates, the Irish market remains very lucrative for firms offering private client services.
HSBC is currently in the process of setting up its operation, HSBC Private Bank, Dublin, which is expected to employ around 20 people, and will be headed up Rory Quinlan, formerly of Bank of Ireland Private Banking. The bank is expected to open in the first quarter of 2007, and hedge funds are expected to be included in the bank's product range. With 82 offices and 5,500 staff worldwide, HSBC Private Bank is one of the world's largest wealth management operations.
The move is further evidence of HSBC's increased focus on the Irish market, as it follows the creation of a corporate banking arm in Ireland during the summer of 2006. Moreover, Charles Gregory, chief executive officer of HSBC Ireland, hinted at a possible retail banking venture for the firm in Finance Dublin September.

Citigroup also recently entered the Irish wealth management market through its acquisition of Quilter, which has over £5.6 billion of assets under management, from Morgan Stanley, introducing a new range of services to the Irish market for the first time.

Quilter currently has a team of nine people based in its Dublin office, having established the operation in 2003, when eight members of Davy Stockbrokers' private clients division joined the firm. This group will now become part of Citigroup's Global Wealth Management platform in Europe.
Citigroup has approximately 1,400 staff in Dublin, with the majority of those working in global transaction services, and although it offers a stockbroking sales service, this deal marks its first step into the private banking market in Ireland.

The new operation will be called Citigroup Quilter and will form part of the international group Citigroup Smith Barney. There will be no change to Quilter's present location for the time being, according to Marianne Hay, chief executive of Citigroup's Global Wealth Management division in Europe. She said that the deal could possibly result in a recruitment drive but for now, 'there are no immediate plans' for expanding staff numbers.

Hay said that the deal will have little impact on the day to day running of the Quilter business in Ireland. 'Initially, we do not envisage any impact whatsoever to Quilter's high class operation in Ireland. Over the coming months, as we integrate the business, we will seek to identify additional products and services that we can offer Quilter's client base thereby ultimately improving their experience. For example, we may look at the option of providing banking/lending services'.
Hay said that the key competitive advantages of Quilter's operation in Ireland is its international perspective, the strength of the team, an all encompassing fee structure, and strong investment performance.

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