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Julius Bär to split operations

Switzerland's largest dedicated wealth manager, Julius Bär, is splitting its private banking and asset management operations into two separately listed units.

The Zurich-based bank said on Wednesday all of its core private banking activities would be grouped and listed under Julius Bär Group. Troubled hedge fund arm GAM, United States asset management unit Artio and Asset Management Europe are to be combined into GAM Holding.

The group’s private bank has been Julius Bär’s main driver as its asset management unit has been hit hard by the crisis, with GAM suffering outflows of around SFr40 billion ($36 billion) in 2008.

Bär said it still planned to float Artio in 2009, but only if market conditions allow. The plan has been delayed by plummeting share prices.

“In light of the challenges that many financial services business models are confronted with… we are convinced that both entities will benefit from their sharpened focus and the absence of competing interests,” said chairman Raymond Bär in a statement.

In February Julius Bär posted a lower-than-expected net profit of SFr661 million for 2008, a 30 per cent decline on 2007. with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR