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UK Wealth Manager To Buy Way Into Asia Expat Market

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Leading UK wealth management firm St James's Place is in late stage negotiations to acquire the Henley Group, to boost its ability to offer financial services to expatriates in the Far East. Henley is based in Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai, and handles client investments worth GBP400m (USD667m).

St James's Place, which was previously part of the Lloyds Banking Group, is awaiting regulatory approval for its acquisition. Henley Group would be a significant addition to the wealth management firm as it has a team of 80 persons in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Singapore.

Announcing the deal in annual results released on February 25, 2014, St James's Place CEO David Bellamy said: "We now offer the most comprehensive geographic access to wealth management advice in the UK. Notwithstanding the fact that we remain very focused on our UK business, we see an opportunity to expand our services overseas to the expatriate community."

"This is an area that we have been exploring for some time, and I am pleased to confirm that we are close to completing the acquisition of a well-respected adviser business which has an existing team of advisers in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, specializing in the provision of financial advice to members of the expatriate community in the Far East."

"This is an exciting development for us that we believe sits perfectly with our comprehensive investment approach and, subject to regulatory approval, the acquisition should be finalized in the first few months of 2014."

The news comes as St James's Place looks set to enter the FTSE100 index for the first time. Share prices have risen by 14 percent since the start of 2014 and closed last week at a record GBP8.75. The firm currently manages GBP44.3bn of client funds.

The Lloyds Banking Group disposed of its remaining holding in St James's Place in December 2013.