The private banking arm of Societe generale (SOGN.PA) in Japan aims to raise its assets by 10 percent this year by expanding into the securities sector, the head of the French bank’s Japanese unit said.
Societe generale Private Banking Japan plans to boost its workforce and increase the types of services it offers in a bid to expand its client base in the world’s second largest private banking market after the United States.
“We are not going into the securities business to become a broker,” Christophe Billard, president and chief executive of SocGen’s Japanese unit, told reporters at a news conference on Thursday, adding that the move would strengthen the service the company offers its clients.
Under Japanese law, private banks and trust banks need to get regulatory permission to make recommendations on securities or to solicit securities.
“We will not stop operating as a trust bank… We are just extending our offering… to deliver securities services to clients, so this could be advisory or it could be to provide structured notes or structured securities services,” Billard said.
SocGen aims to boost assets under management in its Japanese private banking business by 10 percent this year from 474 billion yen ($5.77 billion) as of December, he said.
By 2015, the bank plans to raise assets under management by 40 percent to around 700 billion yen, he continued.
The bank also wants to increase its client base in Japan by 20 percent from the current 1,400 households, which hold more than 100 million yen in financial assets.
The company aims to add 10 new staff, mainly private bankers and front office workers, from the current 120 by the end of the year.
The Japanese unit of SocGen’s private banking arm had 140 staff in 2009, but it has been adjusting its workforce in line with market conditions, Billard said.