November 12, 2012 7:38 pm

Julius Baer in Italian bank joint venture

Julius Baer, Switzerland’s largest private bank, is to buy a 19.9 per cent stake in Kairos Investment Management and enter into a partnership with the Italian wealth manager with a view to setting up a joint-run private bank in Italy.

The two parties declined to provide financial details of the transaction, which will initially see Julius Baer’s Italian operations folded into those of Kairos. Once that deal has closed – which is expected to occur in the first half of 2013 – Julius Baer and Kairos will apply for a licence to set up a private bank.

Boris Collardi, chief executive of Julius Baer, said that the move “underlines our commitment to further grow and develop our business in Italy”. Julius Baer may increase the size of its stake in Kairos “after a few years”.

The Italian onshore business is becoming increasingly important for Swiss banks, as European attempts to crack down on tax evasion are driving funds away from offshore platforms in Switzerland and back to platforms in their country of origin.

The two companies’ Italian wealth management operations, which will be run under the name Kairos Julius Baer, will be overseen by Paolo Basilico, chief executive of Kairos, while Julius Baer will be given two seats on the company’s board of directors.

At the end of August, Julius Baer had SFr184bn-worth of assets under management. Kairos manages about €4.5bn.

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