Nordea Makes Clear Its $350 Billion Wealth Unit Isn’t for Sale
(Bloomberg) -- The chairman of the biggest Nordic bank said its $350 billion asset management business isn’t the subject of a strategic review or even a candidate for a potential joint venture.
Bjorn Wahlroos, who heads the board of Nordea Bank Abp, says the firm’s wealth unit is a “big bright spot.” About 2 to 2 1/2 years ago, the bank had looked into a possible joint venture, but those deliberations were abandoned, he told Bloomberg on Thursday.
The comments come amid speculation that the asset management universe is ripe for consolidation, with scale seen as the key to bigger returns. Nordea’s wealth unit is a giant in the Nordic region, but dwarfed by some of the world’s biggest money managers.
The world’s top fund managers saw their assets jump by more than 15 percent last year to $94 trillion, according to a report published Oct. 28 by Willis Towers Watson. The report also concludes that the top 20 managers, led by BlackRock, experienced the fastest growth in assets under management, suggesting scale drives growth.
Wahlroos said Nordea’s asset management business has proven “very successful.”
A few years ago, the bank initiated a “short process” to explore the merits of a potential joint venture, the chairman said. Back then, “one was worried about what was happening in that industry globally and looked at whether one should do a joint venture on the sale side.” But even then, the conclusion was that “it wasn’t a good solution,” he said.
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