BNP Paribas Securities Services, part of France's biggest bank and the Euro-zone's leader in banking and financial services, has opened a new office in the Isle of Man.

BNP Paribas Securities Services will concentrate on providing enhanced support to its locally based blue chip clients. Its core business is providing global custody and corporate trust services to leading life companies, fund houses and institutional clients.

The office, overlooking picturesque North Quay in Douglas, currently has a staff of 18 headed by Island Manager, Andrew Hardman. The new office will be a branch within the Securities Services Division of the BNP Paribas group, based in Paris. The official opening was performed the Chief Minister, Tony Brown, accompanied by Treasury Minister Allan Bell.

Efficient banking service

The move follows the French bank's take-over last year of RBS International Securities Services, a joint venture between RBS International and the Bank of New York. The Isle of Man branch had been part of the company's offshore structure. Subject to the granting of a new licence by the Financial Supervision Commission, the Isle of Man office will now become a branch of Paris which means that BNP Paribas Securities Services' clients in the Isle of Man will have full access to 'straight through' processing procedures to ensure that their clients have the most efficient service the bank can offer.

Andrew Hardman was the Senior Manager of the former business owned by RBS International and was part of the original custody team that moved with the change of ownership: 'We plan to build on our very good local relations with the finance industry by providing access to the wider BNP global network,' he explained. 'It was very pleasing that all of the team stayed on board, as this has been important in providing continuity and local knowledge for our valued clients.'

Local client focus

'We are looking to support Isle of Man based life companies, institutional clients and those from the Island's expanding fund businesses. We have a wide client base and also take business from diverse areas internationally, but our main emphasis is on serving our local client base and serving it well.

'We have made a strong commitment to both our local staff and Isle of Man PLC that has been underwritten by the move to new premises,' said Mr Hardman, who stressed the importance of the Island's reputation as a centre of excellence for e-business and IT generally: 'We have a newly equipped office here with the most advanced systems, so it was very important to us that we had the very best infrastructure to support it.

'The Isle of Man Government has built itself a strong reputation for encouraging new business through being both pragmatic and responsive to change. These are very important considerations for a business such as ours.'

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