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CIBC Would Consider Wealth Management Deals in U.K., Europe

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, the country’s fifth-largest lender, would consider wealth-management acquisitions overseas while focusing on Canada and the U.S., Chief Executive Officer Gerald McCaughey said.

Canadian Imperial doesn’t rule out opportunities in the U.K. and Europe, where lenders including Royal Bank of Canada and Bank of Montreal have pursued deals, McCaughey said.

“I wouldn’t preclude those,” McCaughey, 58, said yesterday in an interview after the company’s annual investor meeting in Montreal.

The bank’s first priority is to deploy capital into its existing businesses, then consider acquisitions in Canada and the U.S., said McCaughey, who announced yesterday he would retire by April 2016.

Canadian Imperial is aiming to boost wealth management’s contribution to earnings to 15 percent, from 11 percent last year. McCaughey said in September that the bank was raising its target for acquisitions to more than C$1 billion ($907 million) to help reach that goal.

The bank is among companies interesting in buying Seattle-based Russell Investments, Reuters reported this week. The fund-management and indexing unit of Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. managed $259.7 billion of assets as of March 31 and owns benchmarks such as the Russell 2000 Index, according to its website.

Northwest Mutual said in January it was considering a possible sale for its majority ownership in Russell Investments, which was founded in 1936. McCaughey declined to comment on Canadian Imperial’s possible interest.

Canadian Imperial bought Atlantic Trust Private Wealth Management from Invesco Ltd. for $210 million in January. The bank’s largest wealth-management deal was its August 2011 purchase of a 41 percent stake in American Century Investments for $848 million.

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