The UK wealth manager Rathbone Brothers is to buy Dexia's UK private banking division and loan book for a reported total of up to GBP14 million.

Dexia, the Franco-Belgian insurance group, says the sale would not have any meaningful impact on its annual results. The private banking operation holds assets under management of around GBP600 million.

According to sources cited by the Reuters news agency, Dexia sees the UK wealth management market as too fragmented for its liking, hence the sale of the business.

Rathbone for its part says it will fund the deal from its current cash pile, and forecasts the addition to be earnings-enhancing from 2007.