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Sept. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Julius Baer Group Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Boris Collardi said the bank hasn’t held sale talks with Credit Suisse Group AG.
“There have been no formal discussions or approaches” for Zurich-based Julius Baer, Collardi, 40, told Bloomberg News on the sidelines of a conference in Geneva today. “It’s hard to imagine an acquisition of Julius Baer this year, or for the foreseeable future.”
Julius Baer, Switzerland’s third-largest wealth manager, is a potential target for Credit Suisse, Inside Paradeplatz, a Swiss finance blog, reported on Aug. 29, prompting speculation the two firms may have held talks. Credit Suisse hasn’t commented on Swiss media reports that it’s considering making a bid for Julius Baer.
Credit Suisse, the country’s second-largest bank, is under pressure from investors to focus more on managing money for the wealthy and reduce its exposure to investment banking. Julius Baer had 274 billion Swiss francs ($293 billion) of client assets under management at the end of June.
“Clients were very concerned about these rumors, which shows that they like our clear positioning as a pure-play private bank,” Collardi said.
He said Julius Baer won’t be acquired while it remains under investigation in the U.S. on allegations of helping Americans evade taxes. The bank is hoping to reach a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department related to a cross-border U.S.- client business it closed between 2009 and 2011.
Julius Baer has focused for the past two years on integrating about 60 billion francs of non-U.S. Merrill Lynch client assets purchased from Bank of America Corp. in 2012 and has said it’s seeking further acquisitions.
Collardi has overseen a 78 percent increase in managed assets since the end of 2009, the year he became CEO and Julius Baer split from asset manager GAM Holding AG.
While the company would be “obliged” to consider an offer, Julius Baer would come with a “very expensive” price tag, he told bankers and wealth managers at the conference earlier today.
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