After DBI acquisition: Swiss private bank aims to become key player in the Nordics

Danske Bank International recently divested its Luxembourg-based wealth business to UBP in order to focus on the Nordics – a region where UBP wants to grow.

Photo: PR / UBP & Peregrine Communications

Swiss private bank Union Bancaire Privée announced last week that it was acquiring Danske Bank’s international wealth management business in Luxembourg.

As Danske Bank wanted to continue focusing more on its core markets in the Nordics, it was the Danish bank that initiated the deal, but the offer was "perfectly in line" with UBP’s strategy to strengthen its presence in Luxembourg as well as develop in the Nordics, according to a company spokesperson.

"It is also a great cultural fit, the quality of the professionals we met and the complementary nature of the teams supported our decision," the spokesperson says.

The goal – become a key Nordic player

The Swiss private bank, which offers wealth management for both private and institutional clients and has EUR 134bn (CHF 147.4bn) in assets under management as at December 31 2020, has a goal of becoming a major player in the Nordic market, according to the spokesperson.

"The addition of new teams of experienced bankers and investment professionals allows us to strengthen our offering and expertise for this clientele and benefits our local management teams. In asset management, we also entered into a partnership with SEB in 2016 which allows us to distribute our funds in Scandinavian countries."

In recent years, UBP has acquired other businesses that have a strong Nordic presence but a base in Luxembourg. That was part of its ambition to increase its footprint in Luxembourg, which became its European hub a few years ago. In 2018, Banque Carnegie Luxembourg became a part of UBP. This business specializes in international wealth management service for Nordic clients, especially in Sweden.

A good match

"The acquisition of Danske Bank International, which is active in the Danish market, is therefore perfectly complementary to our goals," according to the UBP spokesperson.

Just days before the deal with DBI was announced, UBP also acquired Millennium Banque Privée, the Swiss subsidiary of Banco Comercial Português.

"We are constantly looking for new opportunities in the market, but it has to be a good match. The timing of these negotiations also meant that this announcement coincided with that of the acquisition of Millennium Banque Privée. We would love to go to Asia but there are fewer opportunities. We are always looking to take over businesses wherever we are present, whether in Switzerland, Europe, the Middle East or Asia," according to the spokesperson.

Danske Bank International has 70 employees and serves around 1,000 private customers, who primarily reside outside of the Nordics. The Danish bank expects the sale to result in a one-off gain of EUR 34m (DKK 250m).

Once the deal is completed, UBP’s assets under management in Luxembourg are expected to reach EUR 30bn (CHF 33bn).

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