Bermuda Commercial Bank, pictured above, has acquired Paragon Trust and Charter Corporate services.*Photo supplied
Bermuda Commercial Bank, pictured above, has acquired Paragon Trust and Charter Corporate services.*Photo supplied
<
1
2
>

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 2: Bermuda Commercial Bank (BCB) is refining its private wealth and corporate services with the acquisition of a trust company and corporate administration business.

BCB is to merge two of its subsidiaries (Fiduciary 1 and 2) with Paragon Trust Ltd and Charter Corporate Services Ltd.

The two companies’ offices at Trinity Hall, Cedar Avenue, Hamilton, will now be transformed into BCB’s centre for Private Wealth Services.

Paragon and Charter’s eight full-time members of staff will be transferred to the BCB payroll, with the merger expected to conclude on October 4.

Personable

Horst Finkbeiner, BCB’s Chief Operating Officer and director, said BCB aims to deliver “exceptional service” to its private wealth and corporate clients.

“Paragon and Charter will enable us to provide an even stronger platform,” he said.

“They have a very strong reputation in the marketplace — that was one of the things that attracted us to them.

“They are run in a very prudent and personable way and provide a high level of service to their clients, so this fits in with our own ‘corporate culture’.

“We will start to build out the Private Wealth centre using our services and staff, creating a turn-key centre for clients who want to come in to discuss their investments, trusts, estate planning and asset management.

“People in this high net worth bracket also own and invest in companies, and so they also need a large amount of corporate services. This is an exciting development for us.

“Private wealth clients are more sophisticated and demanding, and this is the market niche BCB services.”

He said Paragon and Charter’s clients would also benefit from the acquisition, in that BCB would be able to offer them new banking products such as accounts, credit cards and foreign exchange transactions “under one roof”.

BCB, founded in 1969, is one of four licensed banks in Bermuda and the only one to specialize solely in corporate and private wealth clients.

It has been looking to make acquisitions in trust and corporate services to expand its services and by doing so, strengthen its position in the private banking and wealth management sector.

The company has close to 1,000 clients, 60 per cent of whom are domiciled in Bermuda. International clients are predominantly based in the UK, Europe and Middle East.

By not investing in Collatoralized Debt Obligations (CDOs) such as mortgages, such as other main banks, BCB has been able to ride out the global recession, said Mr Finkbeiner.

Boutique

“A lot of those investments went to zero, but as BCB stayed out of those markets, we have an all-cash balance sheet,” he said.

“We haven’t had to deal with the kind of problems that have plagued banks around the world.”

Mr Finkbeiner added: “I am very grateful to the team at Paragon and Charter and our own team here. Both teams put in a lot of time and effort to make this amalgamation happen.”

Michael Collier, BCB chairman, said Paragon and Charter would assist the company in its goals of becoming a full-service, boutique premier wealth management financial institution.

“This amalgamation is an excellent strategic fit with BCB’s current direction and future plans for growth in the domestic market, and on a consolidated basis this strengthens our competitive position to serve both our local and international clients,” he said.

Luciano Aicardi, Paragon and Charter managing director, added: “We will continue to provide our clients with the level and quality of service that they have always enjoyed at Paragon and Charter, while being able to offer them an enhanced range of products and services as part of the BCB Group of Companies.

“I look forward to working with our new BCB colleagues and I believe that our Paragon and Charter teams will be able to bring added value to the group”.

Reputation

Paragon was founded in 1997 and offers a complete range of trust services, including commercial and private trusts, as well as estate planning, administration and executorships.

Charter was established in 1999 as a full-service corporate administration company. It provides administrative and secretarial services to a variety of sectors including insurance and reinsurance, insurance management, aircraft holding and leasing, mutual funds, ship owning and chartering, landholding and investment holding. It also administers companies in other jurisdictions.

A BCB spokeswoman said: “Both companies have an excellent reputation in Bermuda and their focus on superior customer service will ensure that they will make an excellent fit with the bank’s existing operations.”