Santander to launch UK private banking arm

Santander Private BankingSantander, which employs more than 2000 people in Scotland, has announced that it is to launch a UK private banking division this year for the first time.

The lender said the move will see it provide facilities for smaller savers with hundreds of investment funds by providing bespoke solutions for clients who have £500,000 worth of savings or investments and/or an annual income of £250,000.

The bank, which already has private banks in other markets, will launch the new division later this year with clients provided with a dedicated private banker, out of 40 specialists across the country.

A discretionary investment management offering will be available in due course, Santander added.

Santander private bankers will offer services such as banking, lending, investment and financial planning products.

Clients can also have access to the bank’s online banking services and support from Santander’s specialist contact centres.

Santander also said it will keep its Cater Allen division to take deposits via intermediaries but said the new division will have a “full” range of private banking services.

The new offering comes after an announcement at the start of the year, revealing that the bank plans to offer branch-based investment advice again, after previously pulling out of the market.

It had closed the bancassurance division in February 2013 after the Financial Services Authority found serious failings in the way the bank assessed customers’ risk appetites, later hitting Santander with a £12.4m fine for unsuitable advice.

Alan Mathewson
Alan Mathewson

Santander UK head of wealth and private banking Alan Mathewson, said: “The retail distribution review made it harder to get advice to the masses. With £100,000 or less, it’s hard to gain advice in the market.”

Islay Robinson, chief executive at Enness Private Clients, said he had been eagerly waiting for Santander to launch their private banking proposition and now looks forward to seeing the details.

He said: “They have been refining their proposition for quite some time and have hired some big industry names to support their efforts. Although Santander is yet to elaborate on their criteria, we expect this service to attract a whole new client base.

“They have identified a large gap in the market – in recent years the high street has adopted a one-size-fits-all approach to lending, and there is a real need for more flexible, common sense policies like this,” he added.

The firm is also launching a direct-to-consumer platform which will offer access to more than 2,000 funds.

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