Is Credit Suisse About to Buy Asian Wealth Business?

Tidjane Thiam, CEO Credit Suisse

Tidjane Thiam, CEO Credit Suisse

The fate of the private wealth management business of Barclays Bank has been speculated upon for several months.

In a report from on line publication «AsiaOne» it is claimed that the disposal of Barclays Asian wealth business has moved up a gear with the appointment of financial advisory and asset management firm Lazard.  

Last week London based Barclays announced its plans to shutter offices in Australia, Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan with the loss of almost 250 jobs, a move that added to the speculation that the bank’s Asian wealth unit would be next to be discarded, as also reported.

A Tale of Two New CEO’s

Barclays chief Jes Staley has made it clear he wishes to rid the bank of non-core assets and is aggressively reducing costs.

Tidjane Thiam the high profile CEO at Credit Suisse has repeatedly said he sees Asia as the place to be and aims to significantly add to staff numbers and assets in the region.  By the end of 2015 Credit Suisse had around $155 Billion under management.

More Than one Suitor

While Credit Suisse has been regularly linked with acquiring the private wealth assets of Barclays in Asia other potential buyers will not stand idly by. Both Singaporean banks DBS and OCBC who have each enlarged their respective wealth offerings via purchases of European private bank businesses, such as Société Générale, will no doubt be running the rule over Barclays books.

Then there are the Swiss based pure play wealth managers such as Julius Baer, the bank has made no secret of their desire to bulk up in Asia, their so called second home.

Protracted Affair

Don’t rule out a surprise bid or two either, EFG International have made an ambitious pitch for the Ticino based BSI bank, which includes teams of bankers and advisers in Singapore and Hong Kong, and could also be looking at options if the sale of the BTG Pactual owned unit becomes a protracted affair.   


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