SG Private Banking buys Chase Trust Bank (Japan)

The French private bank acquires some serious assets in Japan.

SG Private Bank - the private banking arm of the Societe General group - has made a large statement of intent with the acquisition of Chase Trust Bank (Japan). The bank will create a new entity called SG Private Banking (Japan) that will be created by a transfer of shares on June 17. The Japanese regulators approved the deal on June 4.

As part of the deal, some Y300 billion ($2.4 billion) of asset will be transferred to SG Private Banking (Japan) to manage and run. The actual acquisition price of the transaction was not disclosed.

The new bank will offer the whole range of traditional private banking services to wealthy Japanese - services which they have not before had under one roof. These include loans, deposits, FX, portfolio management, investment advice, inheritance related services and financial engineering.

"Global-level private banking is in the rearly days of development in Japan due to a historical fragmentation of providers," says Francois Barbe, president of SG Private Banking (Japan). "European institutions are extremely well positioned to fill this gap, by drawing on decades of experience dealing with tax, inheritance and investment issues common to today's Japan."

According to Daniel Truchi, chairman of the board of SG Private Banking (Japan), Japan accounts for 10% of the world's private banking market. Thus the bank's expansion into the land of the rising yen is a natural move.

Indeed it comes after two to three years of heady expansion in non-japan Asia where SG Private Banking has carved a top tier niche in areas such a structured finance and trusts. It also follows the 1998 acquisition by SG of Yamaichi's asset management subsidiary, which brought over Y2 trillion of assets under SG's management.