Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- EFG International AG, the Swiss private bank that’s buying competitor BSI, said first-half profit fell by almost half as clients held back from trading in volatile markets.

Net income dropped to 22.3 million Swiss francs ($23 million) from 48 million francs a year earlier, the Zurich-based company said in a statement on Wednesday. Client assets decreased to 80.6 billion francs, not including the BSI business EFG is acquiring from Grupo BTG Pactual, from 83.3 billion francs at the end of December after an outflow of client money.

“In the first half of 2016 the financial services industry faced strong headwinds and uncertainties in the markets worldwide,” Chief Executive Officer Joachim Straehle said in the statement. Earnings from private banking were “resilient,” he said.

EFG has raised extra capital to fund the purchase of similar-sized BSI as it seeks to compete with larger Swiss wealth managers Julius Baer Group Ltd. and Credit Suisse Group AG. BSI is embroiled in an international investigation into banks linked to allegations of corruption at the Malaysian Development Fund known as 1MDB.

Revenue fell and new new client money was “disappointing” in the first quarter the company reported earlier. EFG may face significant impairments to the value of its life-insurance holdings after premiums were increased, it said in May. The company reported a loss of 800,000 francs for the first six months from life insurance portfolios, compared with a gain of 6.9 million francs a year earlier, according to the statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Giles Broom in Geneva at gbroom@bloomberg.net. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Neil Callanan at ncallanan@bloomberg.net, Ross Larsen

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