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Acquisition of Barclays’ Trust Business Completes

An independent investor group, led by the Sarikhani and Nielsen families, today announced the completion of the acquisition of a majority shareholding in Barclays’ trust and fiduciary business, following regulatory approvals across all of its international jurisdictions… and unveiled its new name: ZEDRA.

Barclays will retain a stake of 19.9% in the company, reflecting both its interest in the ongoing success of the business and its commitment to supporting continuing relationships with clients and the advisory community.

ZEDRA is a long-established trust and fiduciary services business with a 50-year history and more than 300 people serving clients across its core locations: Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, the Cayman Islands, Singapore, the UK and Switzerland. 

ZEDRA has developed and grown market leading positions in these jurisdictions under Barclays’ ownership and represents many of the most affluent and influential families, investors and organisations in the world.  The new management team intends to double the size of the business within five years.

The acquisition of the business received approval from regulators in all jurisdictions in which it operates, and its new independence provides a platform from which the services it provides to clients and advisers can be expanded in both existing and new markets.  The company’s ambitious long-term growth plans also represent a break with recent trends in the sector, it being the first global trust business to be acquired without a private equity investor for almost 10 years. 

ZEDRA has a strong and experienced board of directors, which includes Yves Deschenaux as Chairman, Bart Deconinck as Group Deputy Chairman, Niels Nielsen as Group Chief Executive Officer and Ali Sarikhani as Non-Executive Director1 (see notes to editors for biographies). 

The acquirer brings to bear significant experience in the sector, having been at the forefront of the trust industry for more than 30 years.  During that time, it has successfully invested in and contributed to the development of several companies in the sector including Vistra Group, Vestra Wealth, Intertrust, Kinetic Partners, Chiltern Group and Azure Trust, all of which have grown and developed under its leadership.  Azure Trust will also be merged into ZEDRA. 

ZEDRA plans to double the size of the business within five years.  This growth will be driven by an investment in attracting and retaining talented people to complement and build on the considerable experience and expertise already held within the company, and by further developing ZEDRA’s strong client base. 

The company currently represents some of the world’s most affluent and influential families, entrepreneurs, investors and other organisations, and it intends to expand its engagement to a wider range of corporate and institutional clients in the future.  The company will continue to deepen its working relationships with Barclays and the wider intermediary and advisory communities, while broadening its geographic focus to include new markets where strategic growth opportunities have been identified.

Niels Nielsen, Group Chief Executive Officer of ZEDRA, commented:

“Today represents a pivotal moment in the life of this outstanding business and a unique opportunity to further build a global market leader in this dynamic sector.  This is one of the longest-established trust businesses in the world with a heritage which, combined with our own experience in the sector, creates a powerful platform for growth. 

“ZEDRA’s best-in-class processes and procedures are testament to the stewardship of Barclays and our plans will rely on maintaining and further enhancing these standards, thereby reaffirming the trust that our clients, our partners and the international advisory community place in us.  This is an exciting time for the business, as we seek to double in size within five years. We relish the challenge ahead, which we approach with renewed energy and drive.”

Bart Deconinck, Group Deputy Chairman of ZEDRA, added:

“The trust industry is at an important point with a combination of both challenges and opportunities. An increasingly complex regulatory and compliance landscape demands expertise, strength and depth to ensure that clients’ interests are best served within the new realities of our marketplace.  Our leadership team is well placed to provide the insight and industry expertise that will guide our ambitious growth plans, underpinned by the talent of our people and supported by the opportunities we will be offering to new colleagues moving forward.

“This is the first global trust business to be acquired outside the private equity space for almost a decade and we intend to invest in positioning the company for long-term, sustainable growth.”

The company’s new name, ZEDRA, was developed through extensive consultation throughout the business.  It is designed to reflect the energy, ambition and direction of its people, which underpin the services it provides to clients and their advisers.

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