Kleinwort Benson, one of the most historic names in the City of London and with origins in merchant banking dating back to 1786, is pleased to announce that its change of ownership, from Commerzbank AG to RHJ International SA (RHJI), is now complete. The completion sees the formation of a new financial services group under the holding company KB Financial Services Holdings Limited.

Leonhard Fischer, a seasoned banker and Chief Executive Officer of RHJI, will become Chairman of Kleinwort Benson Private Bank Limited and Richard Robins will remain as Chairman of Kleinwort Benson Channel Islands Holdings Limited. Robert Taylor continues as Chief Executive, with overall strategic management responsibility for the two companies. Alan Yarrow has been appointed Chairman of KB Financial Services Holdings Limited. He has been involved with Kleinwort Benson since the late 1980s and is a well respected name in the world of finance. Further appointments to the Board will be announced in the days ahead.

Commenting on the announcement Robert Taylor, Chief Executive of Kleinwort Benson, said: “With the completion of the sale Kleinwort Benson is able to celebrate its future and to renew business lines it had traditionally operated in as a merchant bank. The deal also represents a major step towards enhancing our status as a leading independent wealth manager, including asset management and fund administration services. This will give our highly valued clients access to a group of trusted advisors to serve their individual needs.”

The acquisition of Kleinwort Benson from Commerzbank is part of RHJI’s strategy to build a dynamic wealth management, specialised asset management and financial advisory services business under the Kleinwort Benson brand. Assuming the successful completion of the acquisition of KBCAM Dublin, assets under management, combined with Kleinwort Benson’s existing activities, will reach more than EUR 10 billion.

Of future plans for the development of the business, Robert Taylor said: “We are looking forward to working with our new shareholder on their clear vision and strategy for the Kleinwort Benson business and brand. RHJI is in a strong financial position to support us and has the capacity to help us develop new and exciting business ventures alongside our current business lines.”

Leonhard Fischer, Chairman of Kleinwort Benson Private Bank said: “Kleinwort Benson is a business with great potential; we are excited about our plans and the goals we can accomplish together.”

Moody’s awarded Kleinwort Benson an investment grade rating of Baa2/Prime-2 long and short term bank deposit rating and bank financial strength rating of C- in May 2010, its first rating as a stand alone entity. The ratings agency judged the business to possess strong capitalisation, excellent asset quality on a small loan book, a conservative risk management culture and a well-entrenched and a respected financial services franchise in the UK and Channel Islands.