Anglo Irish Bank is in discussions with Singer & Friedlander to buy its Isle of Man trust company. B...
Anglo Irish Bank is in discussions with Singer & Friedlander to buy its Isle of Man trust company. Both institutions have said the talks have yet to be completed but they appear to be at an advanced stage.
The potential acquisition comes after Singer & Friedlander has managed to turn around the fortunes of its trust company over the past two years. In the first half of 2004, fees at the trust company fell faster than costs. As a consequence, profits at the Isle of Man banking and trust operation fell by £100,000 to £1.5m. This followed a "very disappointing" performance during 2003. Singer & Friedlander restructured the business and stopped operating trading companies on behalf of clients, which led to the "stabilisation" of the trust company.
Singer & Friedlander said the decision to sell had been prompted by the recognition that to be successful, trust companies must reach critical mass. Tony Shearer, chief executive of Singer & Friedlander, said: "We realised that the trust business is about scale."
The alternative way to achieve the required size, said Shearer, would be through acquisitions. "We decided the best thing was to sell the company to Anglo Irish. If we are not to own a trust company, however, it makes sense to have access to the capability for our clients."
The ongoing talks, which have taken place over the past couple of months, are covering such issues as how many employees will be transferred to Anglo Irish with the trust company and whether Singer & Friedlander will refer trust business to Anglo Irish in the future. The Singer & Friedlander business will be integrated with the existing Anglo Irish Trust Company.
Neither Anglo Irish Bank nor Singer & Friedlander would reveal how much the former would have to pay for the business and both stressed the acquisition had yet to be completed.
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