The Briefing on Private Banker International 

Private Banker International looks at some of the biggest news stories of the month as M&A continues despite the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the tightening of margins, money is still being utilised to gain competitive advantages

Wealth tech Eton Solutions secures $11.1m investment

Wealth tech firm Eton Solutions has completed an investment round of $11.1m led by existing backers, clients as well as senior management.

The infusion brings the total capital raised by the firm to date to more than $20m.

North Carolina-based Eton serves UHNW offices and has a staff headcount of 112.

The firm is the provider of the AtlasFive technology platform, which has more than $250bn in assets under administration.

PictureWealth swoops on NEO Financial Solutions

Fintech start-up PictureWealth has snapped up Perth-based financial services licensee NEO Financial Solutions (NFS).

With the deal, NFS becomes PictureWealth’s wholly owned subsidiary. The deal value was not revealed.

PictureWealth will retain NFS employees and clients as part of the deal.

This includes NFS managing director Mark Edman will assume the position of group COO at PictureWealth.

NFS offers licensing services to over 80 financial advice professionals in Australia.

RubinBrown Advisors and Wealth Management Advisors merge operations

RubinBrown’s wholly-owned investment advisory affiliate RubinBrown Advisors has merged with Wealth Management Advisors (WMA).

The combination of the two Missouri-based firms was effective in May 2020.

The merged entity will operate under the RubinBrown Advisors brand with its office in Leawood, Kansas.

Founded in 1993, WMA is an RIA with a client base of over 300.

The firm oversees nearly $470m in assets under management (AuM).

The addition of WMA increases the AuM of RubinBrown Advisors to $1.7bn.

Kingswood continues expansion with Sterling Trust acquisition

Kingswood Group has acquired Hull-based IFA business Sterling Trust.

Sterling Trust operates across five locations across the North East of England. it also employs 22 financial advisers and manages £1.2bn ($1.48bn) AuM across over 5,000 clients.

This expands the Kingswood UK regional network to 14 offices and boosts its advisory team to 62 people. Bringing Sterling Trust into Kingswood, funds under management also increase to £4.8bn from around 16,000 active clients.

Brooks Macdonald to purchase Lloyds Channel Islands wealth unit

British wealth manager Brooks Macdonald Group has agreed to buy the Channel Islands wealth management and funds business of Lloyds Bank International for a maximum consideration of £9.63m, including £2.5m of regulatory capital.

Brooks Macdonald will carry out the transaction through its unit Brooks Macdonald Asset Management (International).

Under the agreement, Brooks Macdonald will acquire Lloyds Investment Fund Managers along with the clients and investment management assets of Lloyds Bank International, a subsidiary of Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets (LBCM).

It will pay the deal consideration in cash using its existing financial reserves.

The consideration includes an initial payment of up to £9.3m and a contingent payment of up to £330,000 after two years from deal closing based on the performance of the purchased entity.

Charles Schwab finalises purchase of Motif technology and intellectual property

Discount broker Charles Schwab has wrapped up the acquisition of the technology and intellectual property of California-based broker-dealer Motif.

The transaction was announced last month. The deal value was not revealed.

The deal covers Motif’s algorithms, patents as well as source code.

Most of Motif’s development and investment staff have moved to Charles Schwab as part of the deal.

Motif focuses on thematic investing and also supports real-time fractional share trading.

Cary Street Partners to take over Waypoint Advisors

Cary Street Partners has agreed to purchase Virginia-based independent RIA Waypoint Advisors.

Financial details about the deal were not divulged.

Together, the two businesses will offer wealth management solutions to individuals, families and institutions and oversee around $4bn in assets.

Founded in 2001, Waypoint Advisors serves HNW clients and foundations across the US.

Creative Planning expands Kansas footprint with Sunrise Advisors acquisition

Creative Planning has bolstered its presence in Kansas with the purchase of Sunrise Advisors for an undisclosed sum.

The deal adds around $700m in AuM to Creative Planning’s books.

The team at Leawood-based RIA Sunrise, which offers financial planning and investment management services, will be retained.

Credit Suisse to pick minority interest in Brazilian digital broker modalmais

Swiss investment bank Credit Suisse has agreed to buy a stake of up to 35% in Brazilian digital broker modalmais.

Under the strategic long-term agreement inked between the two parties, the Swiss bank will buy preferred shares equivalent to up to 35% of the Brazilian firm’s total capital.

Financial terms of the transaction were not divulged.

Founder Diniz Ferreira Baptista along with co-CEOs Cristiano Ayres and Eduardo Centola will continue to remain in charge of modalmais.

The Brazilian digital broker was created in October 2015.

Currently, it has an active client base of nearly a million and around BRL10bn ($10bn) in assets under custody.

Through the partnership, Credit Suisse intends to distribute its products including structured notes, funds, debt transactions and share offerings to the clients of modalmais.

The two firms aim to work alongside each other to explore synergies between their investment offerings.

Northern Trust launches research centre to advice on family wealth issues

American asset manager Northern Trust has launched a research centre, which will focus on advising clients on various family wealth issues.

Dubbed The Northern Trust Institute, the new facility will be the advice engine behind each adviser, researching and generating actionable insights based on data and analytics.

The advisers will assess data to establish behavioural patterns and historical outcomes to offer insights.

The new institute will focus on four client segments including multigenerational families, executives and retirees, business owners, as well as unexpectedly single clients such as a divorcee or one who has lost a spouse.

It will include 175 faculty and directors across over 34 areas of expertise.

These areas are investment management, advisory, fiduciary, banking, family education and governance, philanthropy, tax strategy, business advisory, cyber security and divorce, among others.

Deutsche Bank turns to Symphony for client communication via WhatsApp

German banking group Deutsche Bank has tapped Symphony to allow its employees to communicate to clients through WhatsApp messages.

The Symphony Connect Solution integrates WhatsApp into the bank’s communication channels with clients.

With Symphony, the bank can interact with clients anytime, anywhere while meeting security norms including surveillance and data retention.

Natixis IM deepens ESG push by rolling out new fund of funds range

Natixis Investment Managers (Natixis IM) has introduced a range of Luxembourg-domiciled ESG fund of funds.

The UCITS fund range includes the Natixis ESG Conservative, Moderate and Dynamic funds with varying risk appetite.

It will have exposure to 14 funds from Natixis’ five affiliated managers.

The funds will go through a rigorous selection process, as each affiliate has its own ESG approach.

This involves a quant filter and a third-party assessment prior to qualitative assessments.

At present, the new range is available in Belgium, France, Netherlands and Spain.

Coutts eyes 25% reduction in carbon emissions by 2021

Coutts is planning a 25% decrease in carbon emissions in its funds and portfolios by the end of next year.

The bank, which highlighted the plans in its 2020 Sustainability Report, incorporates ESG-thinking across the full investment process instead of providing specific offerings.

So far this year, the bank lowered its carbon footprint by 23% from its Coutts Invest funds.

It targets a 50% carbon emission reduce across its overall holdings by 2030.

UBS raises $440m for Rockefeller’s ESG equity fund

UBS has raised $440m for Rockefeller Asset Management’s Global Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Equity fund.

The vehicle incorporates the ‘ESG improvers’ approach, offering exposure to companies that are improving their performance on material ESG issues and are likely to keep doing so.

UBS allocated to the fund through its entirely sustainable multi-asset portfolio, which exceeded $10bn this year.

ESG improvers investment is an integral part of the sustainable portfolio.

AXA Asset Management changes name to Architas Indonesia

Investment management company PT AXA Asset Management Indonesia has rebranded itself as PT Architas Asset Management Indonesia in a move to bring together AXA’s investment management and consultation services.

PT AXA Asset Management Indonesia has over 10 years of experience in investment management industry offering such financial management services as mutual fund and discretionary fund.

Architas Indonesia president director Edhi Widjojo said the change in the company’s identity would speed up its market expansion and the creation of new products.

Architas Indonesia, which managed $243.71m in funds as of April, provides a multimanager portfolio, such as mutual funds products AXA MaestroObligasi Plus and MaestroDollar as well as Maestrolink Equity Plus investment product.

HSBC hit with £1.3bn lawsuit over film financing scheme

HSBC’s private banking unit has been sued over its alleged role in marketing a Disney film financing scheme.

More than 300 investors have filed a claim against HSBC UK at London’s High Court for its involvement in the Eclipse Partnerships, a series of film financing schemes conceived by the banking firm and promoted by Future Capital Partners between 2003 and 2007.

The investors were represented by London law firm Edwin Coe and tax specialist Newport Tax Management.

The film schemes were marketed as a tax efficient vehicle for investment in future returns claiming that investors would make money by buying film rights on studio made films, creating a tax deferral benefit.

Investors paid significant sums into the schemes, and entered into loan agreements with the designated lending banks to buy the film distribution rights to Disney films.

In the lawsuit, investors alleged that HSBC is liable for fraud for making false promise that Eclipse presents a genuine opportunity to invest in blockbuster Disney films.

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