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Close Brothers to sell Channel Islands businesses, says report

According to the Daily Telegraph, Close Brothers Group has hired Deloitte to assist in the disposal of its private banking, fund management and fund administration operations in Guernsey (pictured) and Jersey. Sources quoted by the newspaper suggest that the London-listed bank’s Channel Islands businesses may be worth up to GBP35m.

A spokesman for Close, which was founded in 1878, refused to confirm or deny the report, stating that the group “as a matter of course” never comments on market speculation.

If confirmed, the decision will follow the group’s announcement last month of the sale of its property fund management business to Alpha Real Capital for nominal consideration plus the transfer of 35 staff and assets and cash of GBP650,000.
Close reported a “small loss” this month in its asset management division, despite a 14 per cent increase in total funds under management from GBP7.4bn at the end of July to GBP8.5bn as of October 31, which the group says reflects the acquisition of the Chartwell Group as well as market movements.
The sale of the property fund management business reduced Close’s assets under management by GBP560m, but according to the group, the deal will have a negligible impact on profitability. It says the rationale of the sale was to reposition the division to focus on the development of “a high-growth UK wealth and asset management business”.
Last year saw the “deconsolidation” of the division’s three private equity businesses as well as the sale of Close’s corporate finance division to Japan’s Daiwa Securities. The unit is now called DC Advisory Partners.
Close’s offshore services include intermediary banking, trust and fiduciary, international custody and fund administration. Its Jersey-based businesses include Close Finance, Close International Asset Management, Close Trustees Jersey, Close Trust Company Jersey, Close Secretarial Services, Close Corporate Services, Close Nominees, Chrisalis Trustees and Citadel Trust.
Its Guernsey-based businesses include Close Bank Guernsey, Close International Custody Services, Close International Insurance and Close Fund Services, which carries out a significant proportion of its operations through a wholly-owned subsidiary, Close Fund Services (South Africa).


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