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EdR closes PB, AM units in Hong Kong

Edmond de Rothschild has officially closed both its private banking and asset management businesses in Hong Kong, according to recent records from the Securities and Futures Commission.
A closed sign hanging in a shop window

Edmond de Rothschild Asset Management (Hong Kong)’s licences for asset management, for dealing in securities and for advising on securities, were removed in November, according to postings on the SFC website this month. Similarly, Edmond de Rothschild Securities (Hong Kong)’s licence for dealing in securities was also removed in November.

Edmond de Rothschild (Suisse)’s three licences — asset management, dealing in securities and advising on securities — were removed in October, SFC records show.

The licence removals follow the EdR announcement in December  2016 that it planned to close its Hong Kong branch, which includes private banking and asset management businesses. At the time, the firm did not provide reasons for the closure.

FSA sought more information from the group, which globally manages 155bn ($182.9bn) in assets, but it declined to comment about the closure of its operations, as well as what it plans to do with the assets it was managing in the SAR and whether staff were retained or relocated.

The closure is a turnaround from the firm’s ramp up of its Asia business over the years. The firm, which has been present in Hong Kong for 20 years, had been expanding its private banking business. In 2014, the firm hired six bankers and advisors and said at the time that it planned to significantly grow its private banking business in Asia.

However, in 2015, its former CEO, Monique Chan, quit and joined BMO a few months later as CEO for private banking in Asia. At EdR, she had been responsible for both private banking and asset management in the region.

Asia PB shakeout

A number of banks have streamlined their operations during the past year by selling off Asia wealth management units. The shakeout has been attributed to difficulty in attracting new clients, the need for scale and regulatory costs.

The latest activity on the M&A front is Indosuez Wealth Management’s acquisition of the private banking division of Credit Industriel et Commercial (CIC). As of this week, CIC will cease to exist as a brand name as it has become a full subsidiary of Indosuez, the wealth brand of Crédit Agricole.

Other acquisitions and consolidations within the private banking and wealth management space in the region include NAB’s sale of its private wealth business to OCBC and LGT Group acquiring ABN Amro’s private banking business in the region.

Part of the Mark Allen Group.