Lloyds loses rich US clients in rules blow

LLOYDS Banking Group has told a group of UK-based, high-net worth American clients at one of its investment management arms it can no longer run money for them, due to a regulatory hitch.<br /><br />The bank last week contacted around 30 wealthy clients of its Bank of Scotland Portfolio Management Service by letter informing them it has no choice but to cease running money for them: &ldquo;The USA has a mature regulatory environment... These regulations mean we are not licenced to manage portfolios for US clients.&rdquo; <br /><br />A source at the group denied reports the clients were being expelled ahead of an international tax evasion crackdown by the US, stating the decision was originally taken in 2008. A review earlier this year confirmed the decision was necessary, they said. <br /><br />According to press reports yesterday the clients had also been told: &ldquo;Unfortunately we cannot offer an equivalent service from within Lloyds Banking Group.&rdquo; <br /><br />The bank is now offering the clients a move to its Lloyds TSB Offshore division, which specialises in international customers.<br /><br />There is no timescale for terminating services to the clients, with work to transfer their assets either to the Offshore arm or to another branch taking place on a case-by-case basis, the source added.<br /><br />An official statement from the bank said: &ldquo;The group&rsquo;s other private banking and private client businesses continue to offer a service to US clients as usual.&rdquo;