Sella adds rep office to Brickell bank vista
By Jeff Ranta
Banca Sella, a privately held bank focused on the Latin American-Italian community, has opened a Miami representative office as its first foothold in North America.
Officials plan other offices throughout the US.
The Miami office at 801 Brickell Ave., a site home to numerous international banks, now employs seven and expects to reach profitability in 18-24 months, officials said.
The bank targets customers needing international access to their money, said President Sebastiano Sella.
"Banca Sella will have a planned client mix of 70% private and 30% commercial customers," he said. "The bank offers private banking serving the Italian-speaking community in Latin America, particularly those residents of Venezuela, Brazil, Uruguay and Colombia, among others."
In addition to its modest Miami office, Banca Sella has more than 230 branches worldwide with more than 3,000 employees. The bank has holdings in Switzerland, Luxembourg, Ireland, France, Monte Carlo and India.
"We are an international company with a parent company in Switzerland, a branch and a bank in Luxembourg, a mutual fund and insurance company in Dublin, a trading company in Paris.
"We are the largest minority holder of a French bank in Monte Carlo," Mr. Sella said.
He said the bank was founded in 1886 by Mr. Sella's grandfather, Gaudenzio Sella, a textile engineer, as a side business.
"We have a very large domestic presence in all of Italy" particularly in Torino, Rome, Milan and Naples, Mr. Sella said.
"I think it is exciting that more and more banks from around the world are seeing the value of Miami and our international flavor," said Pat Roth, executive director of the Florida International Bankers Association. "Banca Sella's practice will also help strengthen the base of private banking expertise here in Miami. I think it's very, very positive. I am sure they will be successful."
According to Marco Isaja, senior vice president and private banking manager for Banca Sella, the institution's strength is a service-oriented approach to private banking.
"For example, you call here you will never have an answering machine," Mr. Isaja said. "You will always have a person who will take your call. It is very personal. Everything is focused on excellence."
The bank, he said, also has a large presence on the Internet at sella.it. The site, Mr. Isaja said, includes day trading online, e-commerce and round-the-clock access to accounts.
He said Banca Sella offers full coverage of all assets to depositors.
"Unlike the FDIC, which guarantees replacement of only the first $100,000 of assets, as a branch of an Italian bank Banca Sella is covered for the full value of the entire assets of deposit," Mr. Isaja said. "It is total protection.
"We are proud to have the grandson of the founder here managing this office," Mr. Isaja said. "All of the employees have a special relationship with Sebastiano. He is more than a boss. He's a friend. And it is nice to have the founders integrally involved in the day-to-day management of the bank."