Summit News

BNY Mellon seeks wealth manager deals

BOSTON (Reuters) - Bank of New York Mellon Corp BK.N, busy integrating its merger and conserving capital for the past two years, is again ready to seek wealth management acquisitions across the United States as well as expand in several overseas markets.

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“We are beginning to look again,” BNY Mellon Wealth Management Chief Executive David Lamere told the Reuters Global Wealth Management Summit in Boston. “There’s an opportunity for us.”

BNY Mellon itself was born out of the 2007 combination of Bank of New York and Mellon Financial, the latter of which completed about 10 wealth management deals between 2001 and 2006. “We’re an educated acquirer,” Lamere said.

Starting with the purchase of The Boston Co in 1993 and mutual fund giant Dreyfus a year later, Mellon amassed 14 individual investment firms in cities such as Atlanta, Cleveland, Florida and Las Vegas.

“They have to be done for specific purposes,” said Lamere, who came to Mellon as part of the Boston Co deal.

Other takeovers, such as the Optima hedge fund of funds business, can add new capabilities. Lamere said he also was open to deals that let BNY Mellon consolidate and take out costs.

As a result of last year’s financial crisis, a number of big banks are considering the sales of money management businesses, including such marquee names as Bank of America’s First Republic Bank.

Lamere told Reuters it was open to any deal that enhances BNY Mellon’s business, though he played down expanding just to increase assets.

“I would not rule out the bigger things, but they have to come with a purpose,” he said.

“We’re also looking at a couple of international opportunities,” said Lamere, who stressed wealth management businesses need local expertise in every market.

Possibilities include working off the company’s corporate and institutional presence in different markets. Lamere specified interest in the Middle East, Brazil and elsewhere in Latin America, as well as in Britain and other certain markets in Europe.

BNY Mellon is also weighing its options for China, he said, where it has an asset management license but may also seek to build a direct-to-consumer business.

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Reporting by Joseph Giannone, editing by Leslie Gevirtz