Sal Oppenheim strengthens presence in France

The private bank Sal Oppenheim jr & Cie has taken control of the French asset management company Financière Atlas S.A. after acquiring the 80 per cent stake held by the Frankfurt-based BHF-BANK and the interest of around 10 per cent held by the management of Financière Atlas.

This move will allow Sal Oppenheim to further expand its presence on the French market and to boost its market share in the institutional asset management business.

Matthias Graf von Krockow, spokesman for Sal Oppenheim's personally liable partners, said' 'The change of ownership within the group has allowed us to lay the foundation for the successful expansion of our business in France with Financière Atlas as a 100 per cent subsidiary. Financière Atlas is well-established as a top name in the institutional asset management sector and, with its office in Paris, complements our offering as a European asset management and investment bank', said Krockow.

The past few months have already seen a team of Franco-German Equity Sales specialists starting work in Sal Oppenheim's newly opened office in Paris. Initially, the bank plans to offer brokerage and equity sales services to French institutional clients, the focus being on the German-speaking equity market. Later on in the year, it plans to expand these activities to cover French small and mid-cap stocks and to establish a team of analysts that will concentrate on French equities.

Its direct integration into the Sal Oppenheim Group's international business will also provide Financière Atlas with further growth potential. 'We are delighted to see the trust that Sal Oppenheim has shown in us and we are convinced that our business will benefit from the Bank's experience and European network', said François de La Baume, CEO of Financière Atlas. In the future, Financière Atlas wants to use this newly attained competence to offer asset management support to high net worth private clients in France, too.

The change to the ownership structure will also result in adjustments to the Supervisory Board of Financière Atlas. Detlef Bierbaum and Dieter Pfundt, both personally liable partners at Sal Oppenheim, as well as Ralf J. Baukloh, Managing Director responsible for Corporate Development & Investments, have been elected as new members of the Board. Furthermore, Xavier de Sarrau, co-founder of the french independent law firm Sarrau Thomas Couderc, will be appointed to the Supervisory Board.

The Supervisory Board will be headed by Friedrich Carl Janssen, also a personally liable partner at Sal Oppenheim, who is already a member of the Supervisory Board of Financière Atlas.

Financière Atlas was formed in 1988, with BHF-BANK acquiring a majority stake three years later. The company positions itself as an asset manager with a focus on institutional clients. The company's close cooperation with insurance companies, pension funds, banks and financial intermediaries means that it enjoys an excellent position in the French financial world. Today, Financière
Atlas has assets under management in excess of EUR 1 billion, around EUR 600 million of which relates to alternative investments. Sal Oppenheim had acquired 10 per cent of the shares in Financière Atlas in March 2006.

With regulatory capital of EUR 1.9 billion, and total assets of EUR 35 billion, Sal Oppenheim is Europe's largest independent private bank. The Bank has been family-owned since its foundation in 1789. The focus of Sal Oppenheim's activities lies on asset management and investment banking. The Asset Management division serves both private and institutional investors. Corporate finance and financial markets represent the core competencies in Investment Banking.

Together with BHF-Bank, which it acquired at the beginning of 2005, the Sal Oppenheim Group currently manages assets totalling over EUR 136 billion and employs over 3,500 staff in Germany and Europe.

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