Miami-based Brickell Bank is planning the revival of its wealth management business now that it’s on more solid footing following the sale to Swiss businessman Joseph Benhamou and his family.
Brickell Bank offers a number of banking services such as trade finance and residential mortgages to a mainly Latin American client base. It also has a broker-dealer and advisory business.
Prior to being hit by the fall of its parent company, Portuguese firm Banco Espírito Santo, in 2014, Brickell Bank had up to $900 million in total assets under management (AUM), a level that its chief executive Fred Reinhardt would like to return to and eventually surpass. It currently has $480 million in AUM.
‘If I could recapture the size of what it was before the parent firm went down within the next two years I would be very happy,’ Reinhardt told Citywire Americas.
He added: ‘The one part of the business that needs to grow now is wealth management. The other businesses have grown over time but I think filling out the offering in wealth management is going to be the area of focus.’
Shortly after fraud allegations took down Espírito Santo, a US banking regulator ordered the Miami unit be sold. It was set to go to a Venezuelan family for $10 million in 2015, however the deal fell through last Spring.
Last month, it was announced that Benhamou and his family, which also are majority owners of Swiss private bank CBH Compagnie Bancaire Helvétique, would acquire the business. Regulators still need to approve the deal, which Reinhardt believes will happen within the next nine months.
‘A lot has been put on hold because we were put in this limbo position, but we have a good tradition of wealth management. We have good advisors, and the connection with this family and their wealth connections has only got to be accretive,’ said Reinhardt.
Building up Brickell
Due to its roots, the firm initially built a Brazilian and European client base. Since then its relationships have gone further into Latin America. The wealth division is made up of three wealth managers and an investment advisor, but the firm expects to hire more.
Through the deal Reinhardt expects a lot of ‘great growth’ from recovering clients that were on the sidelines after Espírito Santo collapsed as well as new introductions from its new Swiss connection.
‘They were purposefully interested in our bank because of our exposure to Latin America and because they understood from where they sat that a lot of the clients that they had or would have would want to do the business through Miami or Europe.’
It also hopes to continue the organic growth seen from offering more corporate and banking clients individual investment services.