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Santander to launch private banking arm this year

Santander to launch private banking arm this year

Santander UK is set to launch into private banking, with a new proposition later this year, providing bespoke solutions for clients who have £500,000 worth of savings or investments and/or an annual income of £250,000.

Clients will have a dedicated private banker, who can provide advice and access to a range of exclusive services across banking, lending, investment and financial planning products.

Alongside this, clients also have access to existing online banking services and support from specialist contact centres, read a statement.

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

At the start of the year, the bank revealed 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.

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.

Separately, the bank has also launched a direct-to-consumer ‘Investment Hub’, giving access to Santander Asset Management funds and around 2,000 funds from other fund managers.

Provided through a partnership with FNZ, customers will be able to consolidate investments held with other providers, as well as their Santander mortgage, savings, insurance and current account.

Managing director for wealth management and private banking Alan Mathewson said making the investment market more accessible was a key focus of work following the Financial Advice Market Review.

“Online investing is likely to represent 25 to 30 per cent of the U.K. retail investments market over the next couple of years,” he stated, adding: “As a scale challenger bank, we want to be at the forefront of this trend as we continue to develop our proposition for customers in a simple, transparent and more affordable way.”

peter.walker@ft.com