Madrid-based Beta Capital MeesPierson, a wholly owned subsidiary of Fortis Bank, is considering applying for a bank licence, a move that would allow the firm to expand the range of derivatives-based products it offers. If the investment house becomes the Spanish branch of Fortis Bank it would be able to offer banking products, such as guaranteed funds, in its own name, according to an official in Madrid. At present Beta Capital structures products, such as reverse convertibles, but has to issue these under a third party's name, since under Spanish law investment houses are not permitted to offer banking products.
The official believes securing a banking license before year-end should be relatively easy since Fortis Bank already has a license in the Netherlands and Belgium. By operating as a bank the Spanish financial institution could also use its balance sheet to offer more products, he added.
Beta Capital has EUR4.3 billion (USD3.8 billion) under management, mostly sourced from high-net-worth individuals. The investment house uses Fortis Bank as a counterparty to its derivatives transactions where possible but can go to other banks.