Vontobel and Raiffeisen: Vescore to Pay the Price for the Dispute

The takeover of Raiffeisen's Vescore by Vontobel will be completed in a few days from now. It will lead to a loss of jobs at Vescore, seemingly the consequence of an old dispute between Vontobel and Raiffeisen.

Patrik Gisel (pictured below), the successor to Pierin Vincenz at the helm of Raiffeisen, described the difficulties as akin to those in a marriage: «Not all years are happy years,» he commented when the sale of Vescore to Vontobel was announced.

Gisel and his counterpart at Vontobel, Zeno Staub (pictured further below), were eagerly showing how well they got on, as if the fight that started in 2012 had never been.

Patrik Gisel 502

Matter for a Tribunal

By way of reminder: instigated by Vincenz, Raiffeisen developed Notenstein private bank and an asset management unit (later Vescore), driving a wedge between both companies. Before, Vontobel had exclusively provided the cooperative Raiffeisen bank with asset management services.

A tribunal was asked to settle the dispute, which it did at the beginning of 2015. But the troubles linger as becomes evident in the takeover of Vescore, which closes on September 20.

Vontobel and Raiffeisen may have been presenting a united front following the deal. According to the new relationship agreement, which is to last through 2020, Vontobel will deliver asset management expertise and research products. Raiffeisen, the «red giant», will concentrate on the distribution and customer advice.

One in Three Jobs to Go?

Not all seems well despite the flirt. When the deal was announced, the buyer – Staub – didn't want to exclude the possibility of job cuts. In August, «Finanz und Wirtschaft» cited a Vontobel paper which mentioned the figure of 60 out of 190 Vescore staff who might be affected by the takeover.

In the worst case, almost one in three Vescore employee will thus lose his job.

Human resource experts are saying that the cuts are also due to historic reasons. As Vincenz attempted to created an asset management unit properly independent of Vontobel, he had to create loads of back office structures. Those are surplus to requirement now and have to go.

Zeno Staub

Vontobel Jobs for Vescore People

The buyer is still trying hard to deliver on its promise of fairness in the integration process. Part of this is to offer Vescore staff jobs at Vontobel.

Patric Gysin for instance started as head of asset management risk management in September. A further Vescore employee joined the risk management of Vontobel and another will move to the business optimization and digitization unit at Vontobel's asset management division, according to information received by finews.ch.

This is very much what Staub and Gisel were looking for. They claimed that 1 plus 1 is equal to 3. The old Vescore crew may yet see the plus as a minus.

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