Lebanon Businessnews News

Lebanese banker acquires Coutts
Deal is estimated at $1.2 billion
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The Geneva-based Union Bancaire Privée (UBP) reached an agreement in March, to acquire the Royal Bank of Scotland’s (RBS) International Private Banking and Wealth Management business, branded as Coutts.

UBP, founded in 1969 by the Lebanese billionaire Edgar de Picciotto, specializes in private banking and asset management. Edgar de Picciotto remains the principal shareholder and Chairman of UBP’s board of directors and his son, Guy de Picciotto, is the bank’s Chief Executive Officer. His other son, Daniel and daughter Anne are also on the board.

The exact price of the transaction has not been revealed yet, but RBS said it would value Coutts at a $1.25 billion book value.

Founded in 1692, Coutts is wholly owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland Group. Its portfolio includes businesses managed from Switzerland, Monaco, the Middle East, Singapore and Hong Kong, and assets under management of over CHF 30 billion (more than $31 billion).

Edgar De Picciotto has been active in the financial world since 1956 and officially established the Compagnie de Banque et d’Investissements (CBI) in Geneva on 11 November 1969. From the 1980s onwards, CBI undertook numerous acquisitions. The largest of these was that of TDB-American Express Bank in 1990, which led to the creation of the current entity UBP. After taking over the Discount Bank and Trust Company in 2002, UBP developed organically, building on its financial expertise.

In 2011, UBP acquired the Swiss subsidiary of the Dutch group, ABN AMRO, which was active in the field of wealth management. It also established two partnerships, in Hong Kong and Taiwan, with TransGlobe. In early 2012, UBP acquired Nexar Capital Group, a global player in alternative investment management.

UBP has obtained a license from the Central Bank (BDL) in 2013 to operate as a financial institution, with a representative office in Beirut. In addition to banking activities, Edgar De Picciotto has investments in the country’s real estate sector, including a project in Ashrafieh.
Reported by Leila Rahbani
Date Posted: Apr 07, 2015
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