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(Bloomberg) -- Notenstein Private Bank Ltd., a unit of Swiss Raiffeisen group, agreed to acquire the client assets of La Roche & Co. and said it will seek more deals among Switzerland’s financial firms.
The business activities and employees of La Roche will move to Notenstein over the next six months, excluding clients with a direct or indirect connection to the U.S., Notenstein said in an e-mailed statement on Friday. The terms of the transaction weren’t disclosed.
Notenstein oversees about 21 billion Swiss francs ($22.6 billion) for wealthy individuals and corporate clients. La Roche, established in 1787 in Basel, Switzerland, has about 100 employees and manages about 6.5 billion francs, according to the statement.
Swiss private banks are preparing for consolidation as wealth managers struggle with low interest rates, the strength of the nation’s currency and the costs of an international crackdown on tax evasion. The number of Swiss private banks fell to 139 at the end of 2013 from 182 in 2005. About one third are unprofitable, KPMG said in a report in August.
“Notenstein aims to play a key role in the consolidation process now under way in the Swiss financial sector,” the St. Gallen, Switzerland-based bank said in the statement.
Notenstein was previously owned by Wegelin & Co., which once thrived as Switzerland’s oldest bank. Raiffeisen bought the unit shortly before Wegelin was indicted in the U.S. in 2012 for helping Americans evade taxes. Wegelin later pleaded guilty, handed over $74 million and shut down.
A dozen other Swiss banks were placed under criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department, while more than 100, including La Roche, applied at the end of 2013 to join a U.S. disclosure program that may result in non-prosecution agreements for cooperating banks.
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