San Francisco-based Wells Fargo said the office
has three people and is the latest step in a steady expansion in
Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), where it now has 930
people, up from about 600 at the start of 2012.
Most are in Britain, where it has 721 employees, and its EMEA
boss Jim Johnston said that will rise further.
"We've grown more than we expected in each of the last three
years ... we'll continue to grow because the customer base in
the U.S. and here has increasing activity with each other, and
we're hoping to gain market share," Johnston told Reuters.
The Aberdeen opening also suggests concerns that business may be
put off by uncertainty over Scotland's upcoming vote on
independence could be overdone. Wells Fargo declined to comment
on how the September vote might affect its plans.
Aberdeen has been one of the most buoyant areas in banking in
the past two years, built on business with oil, gas and energy
services firms based in the city. Wells' office is led by Kendal
Milne, a former Barclays and DNB oil and gas banker.
Wells Fargo is regarded as one of the winners from the financial
crisis and last month reported record quarterly earnings and its
highest ever share price.
It last year became the world's biggest bank by market value and
is now more than $50 billion bigger than its nearest
challengers, including JPMorgan, ICBC and HSBC, yet it is mainly
a U.S. bank with a modest international exposure.
"We're primarily a domestic bank but our American clients are
getting increasingly global. It's a consistent strategy, it's
following our customers here," Johnston said.
The bank does not break out its European earnings, but Johnston
said revenues in the region had grown by at least 10 percent in
each of the last three years.
Its European expansion is mainly targeting wholesale services
for U.S. medium and large companies, and catering to European
firms active in the United States. Johnston said Britain topped
a survey of its customers two years ago of where they wanted
more services, ahead of Canada and China.
Most of the expansion is in areas where it is strong in the
United States, such as the energy industry and commercial real
estate. It bought $5 billion of UK property loans last year from
(Editing by Mark Potter)
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