Fortis Guernsey has renamed its banking operation as MeesPierson, marking the return of the independent private banking brand to the island.
Fortis Guernsey will be split into two separate businesses. Its banking operations have been renamed MeesPierson and fiduciary services will become part of the Intertrust Group which will be prepared for sale in the coming months.
MeesPierson, formerly part of the Fortis group of companies is being established as an international brand following the Dutch government's decision, as a key stakeholder in Fortis group, to establish independent banking and trust businesses in a strategic change to its financial services assets.
All Guernsey banking and investment staff will work for MeesPierson, while trust and fiduciary staff, as well as the tax advisory team will work for Intertrust going forward.
After looking at the core business, the decision was taken as a chance to build an independent Guernsey presence, says Rick Denton, group commercial director at MeesPierson.
The private bank will target high net worth clients locally and further a field and work with IFAs to capture business in Guernsey.
Denton says MeesPierson will now have the chance to be more flexible for IFAs as it won't be a tied house. "IFAs are looking for independence," he adds.
Advisers are also looking for quality and a full private client service in one centre that offers the whole package for international people. The firm has a tradition of dealing with entrepreneurs business and personal finances, he says.
"Clients were initially concerned about the nationalisation but net inflows since then have increased." Denton believes people are now looking at sovereign debt failure as a possibility for other nationalised banks.
Last year, Fortis Guernsey's business grew by 22%. Clients have not been rattled by anti- offshore noises from the G20 and Guernsey's inclusion on the OECD's "white list" is attracting the "right kind of business" enabling the firm and Guernsey as a centre to grow, says Denton.
He says the bank and trust teams "will benefit from the ability to build new independent business partnerships and the perception they are not competing with the universal banking and trust combinations."
"Many of our competitors fear the current economic recession and are afraid to change. We are taking proactive measures to re-shape two strong businesses in Guernsey that will be able to survive and thrive."
MeesPierson was soft-launched in Guernsey on 1 May with the launch of the trust business to follow in June.
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