French financial services company Crédit Agricole and Banco Santander, a Spanish multinational commercial bank, announced plans to combine custody and asset servicing operations. The move comes in an effort to scale without the complexities of a full-blown acquisition, while simultaneously saving costs.

The merged unit will have €3.34 trillion assets under custody and €1.83 billion assets under administration, with Agricole taking lion’s share of its holdings. The bank will own 69.5 percent of the unit and Santander 30.5 percent, retaining the brand name of Agricole’s existing asset management arm CACEIS. Also, Santander’s S3, securities services arm in Spain and Latin America will combine with CACEIS.

Santander Chairman Ana Botin, said: “S3 and CACEIS are highly complementary businesses, and by working together we can create a custody and asset servicing platform that leverages our collective scale and global presence, and offers clients a comprehensive service that can support their ambitions and help them to prosper.”

Swiss investment bank Credit Suisse advised Santander on the deal, and Morgan Stanley for Agricole, Reuters reports.

Joint ventures created by collaborating in business operations is an easier option for European banks to benefit through M&A. Clairinvest fund manager Ion-Marc Valahu, said: “S3 and CACEIS are highly complementary businesses, and by working together we can create a custody and asset servicing platform that leverages our collective scale and global presence, and offers clients a comprehensive service that can support their ambitions and help them to prosper.”