Sarasin joins competitors in downsizing

Bank Sarasin in Basel has said that market conditions will remain difficult Keystone

Swiss private bank Sarasin of Basel has joined the ranks of some of its rivals by cutting jobs in response to weak market conditions.

This content was published on August 23, 2002 - 15:41

The bank announced on Friday that it would cut 100 jobs by the end of the year, after reporting a surprise net loss for the first half of SFr33.18 million ($21.85 million).

Sarasin said in a statement that goodwill charges and restructuring costs for the integration of the private banking business of the Netherlands Rabobank negatively affected this year's first half result.

Hundreds laid off

As a result of weak market conditions and mergers, Swiss private banks have this year been forced to lay off hundreds of staff as costs have failed to fall as fast as revenues.

In the last two weeks alone, cuts have been announced by Bank Julius Bär, UBP and Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch.

Sarasin said that owing mainly to market conditions, assets under management declined by 6.7 per cent in the first half to SFr52 billion, while operating profit fell by 35 per cent to SFr52 million.

The Sarasin statement echoed the comments of private banking competitors as to the outlook for the year as a whole.

"We assume that market conditions will remain difficult and that our financial results are unlikely to show any significant improvement in the second half of the year," it said.

It commented that efforts at the bank would be concentrated on successfully concluding the integration of the Rabobank units and on realising synergies.

Sarasin added that it was hoping to improve productivity further by means of ongoing cost controls.

swissinfo with agencies

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