Bank of Montreal buys Hong Kong's Lloyd George

TORONTO Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:04pm EST

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TORONTO (Reuters) - Bank of Montreal (BMO.TO) (BMO.N) is buying Hong Kong-based wealth management firm Lloyd George Management to bulk up its presence in China's fast-growing financial sector.

The acquisition, for which terms were not disclosed on Tuesday, is the second deal announced in as many months by Canada's BMO, which bought Wisconsin lender Marshall & Ilsley Corp MI.N for about $4.1 billion in December.

Lloyd George, which also has a presence in London, Singapore, Mumbai and Florida, has about $6 billion in assets under management.

Struggling for growth in its home market and flush with capital after emerging from the financial crisis in solid shape, BMO has been trying to expand its international presence.

The acquisition doesn't materially add to the bank's assets, but could eventually pay dividends, said Craig Fehr, an analyst at Edward Jones in St. Louis.

"It allows them a bit of increased penetration into a market that I think will continue to be a long-term focus, not only for Bank of Montreal, but several of the Canadian banks," he said.

The acquisition is expected to close early in the third quarter, BMO, Canada's No. 4 bank, said.

BMO will retain Lloyd's entire team and Robert Lloyd George will remain chairman of the company, which will continue to operate under the name Lloyd George Management.

BMO became the first Canadian bank to incorporate in China in November, and Chief Executive Bill Downe said at the time it would seek wealth management assets in the country.

Speaking at a bank conference in Toronto on Tuesday, Downe said the Lloyd George acquisition was "highly complementary to our global asset management business".

Bank of Montreal's shares were up 38 Canadian cents at C$58.46 on the Toronto Stock Exchange at midday on Tuesday.

Royal Bank of Canada (RY.TO), and Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS.TO), the country's No.1 and No. 3 lenders by assets, are also building a presence in China.

In November, RBC bought Fortis Bank SA's Hong Kong wealth management unit.

($1=$.099 Canadian)

(Additional reporting by Sweta Singh in Bangalore; editing by Peter Galloway)

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