Navigation

Skiplink Navigation

Main Features

Death of a banker Former Vontobel head dies at 99

Hans Vontobel, pictured in Zurich in 2009

(Keystone)

Hans Vontobel, honorary chairman of the Swiss private banking institution Vontobel, has passed away at the age of 99.

Vontobel, who died on Sunday, joined the then J Vontobel & Co in 1943. In a statement released on Monday, the bank said: “As a prudent and far-sighted entrepreneur, he soon put his stamp on the house and also addressed his own transience with the transfer of significant stakes to the Vontobel Foundation and the family-controlled Vontrust AG. Ensuring that the company would remain independent after his death was a matter of great importance to him.”

Hans Vontobel took over as chairman of the bank in 1981 and has served as honorary chairman since 1991. For many years, he was the chairman of the Zurich Stock Exchange, a member of the board of directors of both the Swiss Bankers Association and the Neue Zürcher Zeitung newspaper, and chairman of the German-Swiss Chamber of Commerce.

In Monday’s statement, Herbert J Scheidt, Vontobel’s current chairman, said: “Hans Vontobel was one of the most important bankers in our country, but beyond that he was a convinced humanist, who put people at the heart of everything he did. He will remain an example to us all, as a source of considered, far-sighted advice, and with his cosmopolitan outlook and thirst for knowledge.”

A philanthropist, he set up the Vontobel Foundation, the Kreatives Alter Foundation, and the Lyra Foundation, which supports highly gifted young musicians. He leaves behind two daughters and a son.

With around 1,500 employees, Vontobelexternal link specialises in asset management and investments. As of June 30, 2015, Vontobel held CHF181 billion ($181 billion) of client assets. The registered shares of Vontobel Holding AG are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange. The Vontobel families and the Vontobel Foundation hold the majority of shares and votes in the company.

In 2012, Vontobel opened a branch in Dallas, Texas, making it the first Swiss bank registered with the US authorities as an investment advisor to set up shop on US soil. It declared itself a “category 3” bank in the aftermath of American efforts to recoup tax revenue due on hidden assets. That category means a bank has American customers, but that to its knowledge, all are in compliance with US tax law.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

×