Monday 18 December 2017

Anglo hints at future plans for wealth-management unit

Laura Noonan

Laura Noonan

PARTS of Anglo Irish Bank's wealth-management unit may still have a long-term future despite yesterday's announcement that the business was headed for an "orderly wind-down", the Irish Independent has learned.

The wealth-management unit had been on the block for the best part of the year, initially attracting nine bids and later drawing four short-listed candidates.

At a board meeting on Anglo last week, it was decided that none of the four bidders met all the criteria to proceed with a full-on sale of the unit, a decision that triggered yesterday's announcement.

The Irish Independent understands, however, that Anglo is continuing to work on a strategy that could provide a long-term future for elements of the wealth-management business.

If this strategy comes to fruition, details are likely to be revealed over the coming days.

Anglo hinted at the development in yesterday's statement, saying the bank would "progress a mechanism to effect the orderly wind-down" of the wealth-management operation.


"Further details are commercially sensitive at this point but will be disclosed in due course," the statement added.

In a "completely separate process", Anglo also remained "in ongoing talks with a number of parties" over the sale of €2.5bn worth of loans attached to the wealth-management business, it said yesterday.

Reports say US investor Lone Star has offered the bank 80c in the euro. The bank, which is called Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, yesterday declined to comment.

Unlike the failed sale of Irish Life Assurance late last year, the Irish Independent understands that the decision not to sell Anglo's wealth-management unit was not directly connected to the eurozone crisis.

As well as having to satisfy criteria around price and ability to complete a transaction, the wealth-management bidders had to hammer out indemnities for future legal cases and other eventualities with a seller that is likely to cease existing within the decade.

Because the wealth-management unit includes a regulated assurance division, would-be buyers also had to satisfy various criteria from the Central Bank. It is understood that no one buyer was able to satisfy all the pertinent criteria.

Irish Independent

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