Julius Baer splits businesses

Julius Baer is to split its business into separately listed private
banking and asset management operations as part of its shift
towards an open architecture offering for clients.

“We are convinced that both entities will benefit from their
sharpened focus and the absence of competing interests,” said
Raymond Baer, chairman of the bank.

GAM, Artio Global and Julius Baer Asset Management Europe will be
bundled together and spun off in an IPO as GAM Holding, subject to
market conditions.


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Sal Opp targets Greece, Spain

Sal Oppenheim is expanding its teams in Greece and Spain as it
returned to profitability in the first quarter of 2009.

“We will continue to tap the new and very interesting Greek market
with a team of specialists, and aim to break into the Spanish
market,” said Christian Camenzind, CEO of the bank’s Swiss

The Luxembourg-based bank made a net loss of CHF117 million ($105
million) for 2008, but said trading had improved early in



First Republic for sale in US

Bank of America (BofA) is looking to sell its First Republic wealth
management subsidiary, a business it picked up through the
acquisition of Merrill Lynch.

BofA, which was told it needed $33.9 billion in capital by US
regulators, is looking at disposing non-core assets. First Republic
is seen as surplus to requirements, given BofA already has the more
established US Trust business.

Merrill bought the business in September 2007 for $1.8 billion, but
commentators expect the business to sell for much less in the
current environment.



BBVA targets slice of China market

BBVA is aiming to establish a 5 percent share of the Chinese
private banking market through a strategic tie-up with China CITIC
Bank (CNCB).

BBVA, Spain’s second-largest bank, has a 10 percent stake in CNCB,
majority owned by Chinese conglomerate CITIC Group. They have now
extended their cooperation with private banking and car financing
initiatives. CNCB, a retail and corporate lender, already has a
private banking business with 23 branches. It follows a successful
retail banking collaboration between the two.