National Bank considering further wealth management acquisitions

Montreal's National Bank considering further wealth management acquisitions as earlier purchases, those of HSBC's Canadian business and Wellington West, are being integrated with National Bank Financial's business

Montreal-based National Bank will consider further acquisitions in the wealth management segment, and is integrating the acquired businesses of HSBC and Wellington West, the bank’s chief executive told investors.

"Wealth management does remain a priority for us," said president and chief executive Louis Vachon during a conference call Friday. “In terms of acquisitions, personal and commercial banking and wealth management in Canada would be of interest to us.”

Vachon said the bank was successfully integrating the wealth-management businesses of HSBC Securities (Canada) and Wellington West Holdings, both of which National acquired in 2011, and that if similar opportunities arose that were ”the right fit from a cultural and strategic standpoint… we would be interested."

Earlier in the call, he said acquisitions that were small- or medium-sized may put a pause to the bank’s share buyback plan, while larger buys would likely be funded by the issuance of new shares.

“If it’s a small or medium size acquisition what we would do then is stop the buyback and let the excess capital pay for it,” said Vachon. “if we do large transactions – which as you know in the Canadian market is quite unlikely given the absence of potential targets - -but for a theoretical sake we would issue [new] shares.”