Societe Generale to buy Kleinwort Benson and merge it with Hambros
Societe Generale acquired Hambros in 1998 Reuters

Societe Generale has announced that it will acquire Kleinwort Benson, the London-based wealth management company, from its French peer, Oddo. Societe Generale has added that it will then merge this with its private London-based bank, Hambros.

The new combined company with more than 1,000 staff will have more than £14bn (€17.83bn, $19.78bn) in assets under management, making it one of the largest wealth management companies in the country. The deal will also combine two of the oldest names in British banking.

Jean-Francois Mazaud, who heads Societe Generale Private Banking, said "This acquisition will bring together two of the most recognised names in private banking, with shared values and a shared heritage in the UK and Channel Islands established through their deep-rooted history here."

The wealth management company operates in London, Jersey, Guernsey and Dublin. It is currently part of Belgium-headquartered financial services company, BHF Kleinwort Benson, which Oddo acquired earlier in 2016.

While the roots of Kleinwort Benson can be traced back to 1786, its reputation over the last two decades has dimmed as it reduced its focus on wealth management. On the other hand, Hambros was founded in 1839 by Carl Joachim Hambros, the Danish merchant and banker. While it started operations by financing Anglo-Scandinavian trade, it was acquired by Societe Generale in 1998.

While the terms of the deal between Societe Generale and Kleinwort Benson are not known, Oddo had earlier valued the wealth management company at £190m. Societe Generale has said that the takeover "would have no significant financial impact [on the banking group]", according to The Financial Times.

Martha Boeckenfeld, chief executive at Kleinwort Benson, said: "The combination of Kleinwort Benson and SGPB Hambros is a very exciting development for our clients and our staff. We will enjoy the benefits of being part of Société Générale, and look forward to working together to create a leading force in private banking and wealth management."