Societe Generale’s acquisition of Kleinwort Benson made 2016 a landmark year. But 2017 is a special year for its own reasons. This year marks half a century of SGPB Hambros in the Channel Islands and 55 years for Kleinwort Benson.
Hambros Bank Ltd and Kleinwort Benson – both London-based merchant banks - set up private banking operations in Jersey and Guernsey in 1967, and 1962 and 1963 respectively. Societe Generale acquired Hambros Bank in 1998, and through a series of consolidations and acquisitions it has become one of the largest private banks on the islands.
Kleinwort Benson, growing from two members of staff, became employers of well over 200 to become another key player across in the Bailiwick. However, following the legal merger of the SGPB Hambros and Kleinwort Benson trust businesses in November 2016, the new combined business is now the second largest bank-owned trust company in the Channel Islands.
Since the 60s, both banks have become established as two of the oldest members of the finance community. They have witnessed a fledgling industry mature into a thriving hub with a prestigious global reputation, and are proud to have played a part in the Islands’ economic development by being amongst the biggest employers.
The Islands themselves have worked closely with regulators to maintain and grow their finance industry, and the banks too have also evolved, adapting to regulatory and legislative changes in order to maintain their high standards and remain attractive in an increasingly competitive market. From the outset, the merge of the two businesses made complete sense; they have similar clientele, business models, footprint and heritage.
The Channel Islands are key financial centres for the UK, internationally and in recent years have become an increasingly attractive home for high net worth individuals, their families, businesses and family offices. Jersey and Guernsey are highly regulated with excellent infrastructure and as such play a key part in our ability to service our clients, locally and internationally.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE…
Building on the strengths of our two banks, which can trace their roots right back to the early 1800s, long before either came to the islands, we are looking forward to cementing our reputation as a key private bank in Jersey and Guernsey while reinforcing our growth strategy in core markets. Above all, we will continue to invest in our processes, systems, staff and the Island communities, to ensure we maintain our long-standing tradition of offering a first-class service to all our clients.