Société Générale to buy Kleinwort and merge it with Hambros

French company set to combine two of the oldest names in British banking

SocGen is the latest foreign owner of the 230-year-old bank yet the Kleinwort Benson brand remains uncertain as SocGen plans to integrate it with its pan-European private banking operation which includes Hambros in the UK. Photograph: Bertrand Langlois/AFP/Getty Images

SocGen is the latest foreign owner of the 230-year-old bank yet the Kleinwort Benson brand remains uncertain as SocGen plans to integrate it with its pan-European private banking operation which includes Hambros in the UK. Photograph: Bertrand Langlois/AFP/Getty Images

 

Two of the oldest names in British banking are to combine after France’s Société Générale said it had agreed to buy Kleinwort Benson and merge the wealth manager with Hambros, its private bank. The deal creates a top 20 UK wealth manager with assets under management of £14 billion and over 1,000 staff.

A year ago Kleinwort Benson looked likely to be taken over by a Chinese group. Instead the firm has fallen into French hands as SocGen becomes the latest foreign owner of the 230-year-old bank. Yet the future of the Kleinwort Benson brand remains uncertain as SocGen plans to integrate it with its pan-European private banking operation which includes Hambros in the UK.