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Caisse d'Epargne and Crédit Agricole are combining their securities services businesses into CACEIS (Crédit Agricole-Caisse d'Epargne Investor Services).

The final agreement allowing the Caisse d'Epargne and Crédit Agricole Groups to merge their respective securities services businesses is imminent.

On 17 December, both groups announced their plans to create a major financial institution by June 30, 2005 offering financial services to institutional and corporate customers in Europe by combining within a jointly owned entity all their "securities services" business lines, namely: depositary and custodian banking services (Crédit Agricole Investor Services Bank in Paris, Dublin and the Luxembourg, IXIS Investor Services in Paris and IXIS Urquijo in Madrid), fund administration (European Fastnet network and IXIS Administration de Fonds) and corporate trust services (CA-IS Corporate Trust and Euro Emetteurs Finance).

The deadlines have been met and all the agreements between Crédit Agricole and the Groupe Caisse d'Epargne have been signed.

The new joint brand, CACEIS, has been announced, and the two groups say they are now only waiting to receive the remaining official authorizations in the next few weeks before formally launching.

CACEIS is equally owned by Crédit Agricole SA (CA sa) and the Caisse Nationale des Caisses d'Epargne (CNCE).

The flagship services offered by CACEIS include: Fund structuring; pan-European distribution; alternative investment servicing; globalisation; outsourcing; derivatives clearing; and UCITS III Directive support.

CACEIS benefits from the financial strength of both its shareholders: it will have more than EUR 300 million of Tier 1 shareholder equity and should generate net banking income of about EUR 450 million in 2005, and gross operating income in excess of EUR 90 million, with a total staff of approximately 2,300 employees, 40 per cent of which will be based outside France.

The groups stated: "With CACEIS, the Caisse Nationale des Caisses d'Epargne and Crédit Agricole S.A. are creating a front-ranking player enjoying an extensive presence in Europe (Paris, Luxembourg, Madrid, Brussels, Dublin and Amsterdam):

• The top-ranking depositary bank for collective investment vehicles in France, the largest bank in terms of assets held with Euroclear France, and among the very largest European players with assets under custody in excess of EUR 1,300 billion for the institutional customer segment alone,

• The top-ranking French fund administrator, and among the leading European players, totalling EUR 640 billion in assets under administration, including the Fastnet network,

• Among the three leading corporate trust service providers in France, and a leading European transfer agent, totalling EUR 600 billion in assets.

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