The Globe and Mail reports in its Tuesday edition that Bank of Montreal ($115.72) is selling its underperforming European asset management business for $1.1-billion to Ameriprise Financial as part of a plan to sharpen its focus on North America. The Globe's James Bradshaw writes that BMO's asset manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, or EMEA, is mostly concentrated in Europe, with $124-billion (U.S.) of assets under management, but has offices in North America, Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong. Ameriprise will pay 615 million British pounds ($1.09-billion), and the deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter this year, subject to regulatory approvals. The return BMO was earning from the business does not appear to have matched the cost of running it. If the deal closes, BMO said it will not have a significant impact on future profits, but it will boost the bank's efficiency ratio by 64 basis points. The sale is the largest in a series of recent divestitures BMO has made in its drive toward greater efficiency. The bank hopes to concentrate more of its resources on business lines where it has better prospects of earning a strong return, including its North American asset management business, especially in Canada.
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