UPDATE 1-Santander to base asset management arm in London

Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:00am EDT

LONDON, June 20 (Reuters) - Spain's Santander confirmed on Thursday it would base its global asset management business in London, following last month's deal to sell half the business to U.S. private equity firms.

Britain's finance minister George Osborne had told bankers in a speech on Wednesday that London had been chosen as the hub for Santander's asset investment arm, much of which is currently based in Madrid.

The bank confirmed that plan and said it was creating a holding company for the business in London, but did not have further details.

Santander also said it had appointed Javier San Felix, who has previously headed Banesto, the Spanish bank Santander fully absorbed this year, as head of a newly-created global retail banking division.

San Felix, who was briefly head of Santander's Americas division before this move, will report to new Chief Executive Javier Marin.

Santander reorganised its retail division, shifting its Americas division into the unit, and integrating some of the businesses it has absorbed in its home market.

Santander had agreed in May to sell a 50 percent stake in the asset management arm to U.S. private equity firms Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic LLC. The business has 600 staff mostly in Europe and Latin America.

Santander booked a 700 million euro net profit from the deal, which valued Santander Asset Management at 2.05 billion euros and brings together 11 asset management companies.

It said the deal would also provide financial backing to expand the asset management business outside of Europe and Latin America, where most of its 152 billion euros of assets currently under management are located.