RETAIL FUNDS | Tony Chua, India

SocGen sees India as catalyst for growth

In the next two to five years, SocGen is set to add services to existing locations in India and to acquire 37 percent stake in SBI Funds Management.

According to a report in Business Standard, the senior executives of French banking group Societe Generale's (SocGen) private banking arm said that it had secured a non-banking finance company (NBFC) licence from the Reserve Bank of India and would start lending money to local customers. The group has also applied for a licence to offer portfolio management services in India.

At a media briefing in London hosted by senior management, SG Private Banking's global CEO Daniel Truchi said the initial plans would be to expand its geographic presence in India by adding Pune to its existing locations at Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. Through its offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai and the United Kingdom, the private banking arm proposed to offer services to non-resident Indians who wished to invest in India, said Truchi.

SocGen also has a joint venture agreement with Indiabulls for undertaking life insurance business here. Cabannes said that it was awaiting a licence for this new business for over a year now. In 2004, Societe Generale Asset Management entered into a partnership with State Bank of India, the country’s largest bank, taking a 37 percent stake in SBI Funds Management, its asset management subsidiary. SBI Funds Management is one of the top players in the fast growing asset management market. SocGen is a minority shareholder (around 37 percent) in a company that will provide custody and fund administration services from the end of 2009.

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