Societe Generale may sell private banking unit in Asia - sources

By Rizza Sta. Ana

Sep 12, 2013 04:45 AM EDT

According to a Reuters report, sources disclosed that  French bank Societe Generale (SocGen) was considering the sale of its private bank business in Asia. France's number two listed bank was seeking to exit banking market wherein small managers are plagues with rising costs and face tough competition.

The sale of the private bank division based in Singapore could raise around USD million for the bank, sources also told the news agency. The actual price have yet to be confirmed and that the figure could be more, Reuters said. Sources refused to be identified as discussions about the sale remained confidential.

A SocGen Paris-based spokeswoman declined to return comment.

SocGen was only third of the major global banks who were seeking an exit from their Asian wealth divisions within the last five years. Although Asia has the most number of high-net worth individuals by 2014 according to the 2013 report of Capgemini/RBC Wealth, Asia's rich tend to offer small chunks of their wealth to various managers rather than having one to handle all over time.

Should SocGen sell its Asian wealth division, three banks were reportedly interested in purchasing the unit. DBS Group Holding Ltd, Singapore's United Overseas Bank Ltd and Standard Chartered Bank plc were reportedly interested with SocGen's wealth division based in Singapore. All of the three banks refused to comment when asked by Reuters. 

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