Anglo Irish Mayfair office underused in London centre
The building used by Anglo Irish Bank's UK private bank, situated in the expensive Mayfair district of London, is not being fully utilised.
However, the bank has refused to comment on the future of its offshoot.
Anglo has an office at Stratton Street, one of the most opulent districts in the capital and a stone's throw from the famous Ritz hotel. According to records from Westminster City Council, the office is empty.
The Irish Independent understands, however, that the building is still being used by the bank, but two floors are presently unoccupied and the council has been notified of this.
When the bank chooses to use these floors, the change in status will be notified to the council as a matter of routine. The bank reviews its premises' requirements on a regular basis, sources pointed out.
Mayfair plays host to some of the largest hedge funds, private equity houses and private client banks in Europe.
Anglo Irish Bank Private Banking decided to establish a base in the area in an attempt to target high net-worth UK clients. But activity at the office appears minimal and the bank is no longer lending to new clients in Ireland or the UK, although it provides other services.
In 2007, the bank set up the specialist private banking service aimed at wealthy clients and the Stratton Street premises was supposed to be the first of a network of offices in the UK. It was meant to be based on the Irish private banking arm.
At the time, Anglo's UK chief executive, Declan Quilligan, explained the rationale for the move: "The UK has been the main driver of growth for Anglo Irish Bank in recent years and we are confident that by widening the franchise with the development of the private bank we will further strengthen our business in the UK.''
Anglo entered the UK market in the mid-1980s and its main office is situated at 10 Old Jewry, near the Bank of England. But according to its website, it also maintains offices in Birmingham, Glasgow, Leeds, Edinburgh and the Isle of Man.
The future of its UK operations is referred to in the bank's plan submitted to the EU Commission. But while the bank may be prepared to sell the UK network, it is less in favour of selling off its UK assets which are recovering in value.