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Banking & Finance

Credit Agricole Private Bank taps old name for new gold

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 January, 2016, 5:01pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 January, 2016, 5:01pm

Credit Agricole Private Bank will be called Indosuez Wealth Management, reviving an old brand after 11 years, as part of efforts by the 140-year-old wealth manager’s efforts to rebrand itself.

The name was dropped after the merger between parent Credit Agricole, Credit Lyonais and Indosuez in 2004. As it looks to tap the new wealth generated in China and elsewhere in Asia, the bank is looking to evoke its investment heritage with a name that goes back to the year the French empire officially pushed into “Indochine”.

Signalling the completion of a two-year internal restructuring, Patrick Ramsey, the bank’s head of wealth management for Switzerland, Middle East and Asia, told the South China Morning Post on Wednesday: “Indosuez is part of our heritage and our roots. It goes back to 140 years. It started in Asia with Bank of Indochine. At the time, it already was a sign of modernity, of pushing the boundaries in investing abroad from the European continent. It was a precursor to our expansion throughout the world.”

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Ramsey sees no contradiction in evoking the old in initiating new strategies to attract the newly rich to a bank, 70 per cent of whose clientele is still French and European and just 8 per cent from Asia.

“In the clientele we serve, a very big part is the entrepreneurs of today. And there are the entrepreneurs of yesterday that are just passing the lead to the next generation. We do cover 11 per cent of the non-US billionaires of the world. That gives you the sense of competences and connectivity with the wealth creators of today.”

Ramsey’s plan calls for an end to the old private banking model where each of the bank’s 30 geographic locations runs its own turf with their own profit and loss accounts. As the bank’s wealthy clients now live more globalised lives, Ramsey is seeking a more unified wealth management model that leverages its parent Credit Agricole’s global financial muscle to integrate corporate and investment banking with wealth management services.

“When you refer a client from one division to another, you provide the leads to another division. When we are talking about a holistic coverage of our clients – you don’t have this boundary. The client still feels he is covered in a seamless way by the group.”