WestLB rebuffs Saunders spin-off plans

The German bank has reportedly rejected plans from Robin Saunders, head of its principal finance division, to set up an independent private equity division.

WestLB has rejected plans from Robin Saunders, head of its principal finance division, to set up a private equity division financed by the German investment bank, according to an article published in UK newspaper The Times over the weekend.


Saunders, who joined the bank four years ago, reportedly proposed to set up an independent private equity fund that would raise capital from third party investors, with the bank providing around ten per cent of the fund’s capital. The newspaper compared the project to Guy Hands' turning the principal finance he had built at Nomura International into an independent private equity partnership, Terra Firma, which is currently in the process of raising a E3bn. Saunders' alleged rivalry with Guy Hands is a pet subject of City journalists.


The Times said that the proposal was put to the bank’s executive board in October and rejected outright. The bank said that it had considered following the Guy Hands model, but did not want to dilute ‘a very significant earnings stream’.   


Saunders' most recent work was in arranging the £426m financing for the new stadium under construction on the old Wembley site. WestLB has arranged all of the financing for this transaction.  She has also backed Philip Green, the retail entrepreneur, in some of his most high-profile transactions.  


WestLB today declined to comment on the report.