Less than a year after selling its investment bank to Citigroup, London-based Schroders PLC, is busy building its private banking business.
On Thursday, the company picked Mike Bussey, who headed HSBC Republics private banking business in Europe and the Middle East, to be chief executive of Schroder & Co., a unit formed in November to handle the private banking business that was previously done in Schroders investment bank.
Mr. Bussey, 41, is to join the firm in April.
Also on Thursday, Schroder & Co. announced that it has hired Lloyd Reynolds to spearhead its international marketing effort. Mr. Reynolds, who will join the firm Monday, was head of the former J.P. Morgan & Co.s European marketing. Also this month, Schroder & Co. named John Trueman, the former head of Bank of New Yorks Royal Bank of Scotland Trust bank, to be a nonexecutive director.
Schroder & Co., which currently manages about $6 billion of discretionary assets for wealthy investors, is seeking to expand its private banking presence in both Britain and the rest of Europe. Schroders PLC, a fund company, manages roughly $200 billion of assets.
We have ambitious growth plans, said Andrew Sykes, chairman of the private bank, in a telephone interview Thursday. Our focus is to expand in Europe by recruiting people on the ground in Germany, Italy, and Spain, and elsewhere.
Schroder & Co. already has a presence in Switzerland and the Channel Islands, and last year it formed a joint venture with a company in Austria to pursue wealthy customers there, Mr. Sykes said. The company also has some presence in Asia and Latin America.
Schroder & Co. is not alone in looking to increase its private banking presence. Merrill Lynch & Co. and Morgan Stanley, Dean Witter & Co. are both setting their sights on building the private-client business internationally.
Last month, New York-based Morgan Stanley announced a plan to acquire Quilter Holdings Co., a British asset management company that caters to high-net-worth investors. The deal is expected to close this quarter, and the company has said it will seek to expand elsewhere in Europe and Asia.
A recent study by Merrill Lynch and Cap Gemini Consulting said there were seven million people worldwide with more than $1 million of investable assets at the end of 1999. And though volatility in the equity markets may have slowed the accumulation of wealth, experts say plenty of high-net-worth investors remain worth wooing.
Schroder & Co. targets people with several million to invest, though it will not turn everyone away, said Rupert Caldecott, a managing director at Schroder & Co. in London. Quite a lot of wealth has been created in Europe in recent years by private companies that have been taken public.
This has drawn interest not only from local banking companies looking to manage the assets but also from the United States, Mr. Caldecott said.