Japan: Credit Suisse to start Tokyo
private banking…
German court sentences Liechtenstein tax
Argentina: Former
JPMorgan private banker
Switzerland: De
Gier to retire as Baer group
UK: Towergate
breaking into wealth sector…


Citi shutters UK personal

Citibank’s International Personal
Bank has temporarily closed its doors to new business in the UK
while the Financial Services Authority examines its anti-money
laundering (AML) procedures.

The personal bank, which caters to 170,000
affluent customers globally, froze new account openings after an
internal review uncovered what were called “process and resource”
issues in its AML systems.

Citi, stressing that its private bank in the
UK was not affected by the action, has been asked to provide the
FSA with weekly updates until the problems have been resolved.

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In a statement, Citi said: “The business has
grown 70 percent over the last 12 months and is taking a pause with
regard to new accounts while we ensure adequate resources are in
place. It is business as usual.”


Former JPMorgan private banker

Herman E. Arbizu, a former JPMorgan
Chase private banker has been arrested in Argentina on criminal
charges over the alleged embezzlement of nearly $5.4 million from
clients. According to an indictment, Arbizu was charged with bank
fraud, identity theft and 12 counts of wire fraud.

Arbizu at one stage was the relationship
manager responsible for maintaining and developing JPMorgan private
banking relationships in Latin America, according to court

Prosecutors allege that Arbizu caused about
$5.38 million in unauthorised wire transfers from accounts held at
UBS and JPMorgan between March 2007 and April 2008, including
nearly $2.8 million in four transactions in April 2008 according to
the indictment.

In June, JPMorgan sued Arbizu in the US
District Court in Manhattan, alleging he stole confidential and
proprietary information about the bank and its clients.


Credit Suisse to start Tokyo
private banking

Credit Suisse (CS) plans to launch
private banking operations in Japan by the end of this year. It is
appointing Junya Tani, former head of wealth management for UBS
Securities in Japan as its own head of private banking in the

Marcel Kreis, CS head of Private Banking Asia
Pacific said: “We will be focusing on leveraging Credit Suisse’s
integrated banking platform with our well-established investment
banking and asset management divisions to offer a comprehensive
range of services.”


De Gier to retire as Baer group

Johannes de Gier is to retire as
group chief executive of the Julius Baer Group but continue as
executive chairman of its GAM hedge fund arm. The role of group CEO
is being eliminated and the group’s three units, Bank Julius Baer,
GAM and Artio Global, will continue to operate as independently
managed companies.

Announcing second-quarter earnings, Baer said
it intends to list its US asset management business Artio Global
when market conditions allow, optimally within six months.


Thai bank launches private

Kasikornbank of Thailand has
launched a wealth management venture, under the name Signature
Private Banking, aimed at clients with a minimum bank deposit
equivalent to $1.5 million. Kasikorn, the country’s fourth largest
bank in terms of assets, believes it can compete successfully in
the wealth management segment, an area long dominated by foreign
banks, officials said.

The bank sees its strength in three areas: a
600-branch network, its universal banking operations, and solid
customer relationships. Wealth management services include
portfolio advice and private fund management, as well as
non-financial services such as personal secretary services, health
care and travel .


RBS Coutts appoints regional

RBS Coutts, the international
private banking arm of The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Group, has
appointed Mark Brider as Market Head – Singapore and Malaysia. He
joins with more than 25 years experience in RBS, previously heading
RBS International (RBSI), the offshore banking division of RBS, in

Based at RBS Coutts’ international
headquarters in Singapore, Brider will lead the Singapore and
Malaysia market team to further develop client-focused strategies
in these markets.


SG Hambros in new Mid-East

SG Hambros Bank is strengthening its
Middle Eastern Private Banking desk with the appointment of
Mayssoun Habra as senior private banker. She joins from the
National Bank of Dubai, London, where she held a number of
positions since 1999, most recently manager of private banking and
manager of UK Real Estate in The Private Office.

Based in London, she will report to Phil
McIlwraith, group commercial director at SG Hambros, and to Patrick
Thiriet, global market manager at SG Private Banking in Dubai.


Towergate breaking into wealth

Towergate Partnership, which ranks
as Europe’s biggest independent insurance broker, has launched a
new wealth advisory venture that aims to acquire independent
financial advisers (IFAs) in the UK. The company has raised £108
million ($211.4 million) through debt and equity offerings and
plans to make 20 acquisitions by the year-end.

Towergate plans to “establish a well
capitalised national IFA operating under a strong brand”.

Patrick Snowball, a former executive chairman
of Norwich Union who is chairing the new business, said he was
targeting IFAs to high net worth and “mid net worth” individuals to
compete with market leaders such as St James’s Place. IFAs bought
by Towergate Financial will provide advice to people earning at
least £50,000 a year.

Towergate’s target is to acquire 370 to 400
registered advisers in the first two to three years “to put us in
the top 10 IFA providers”, he said. The venture, which is called
Towergate Financial, aims to buy a 90 percent stake in successful
entrepreneurially-driven IFA businesses.


German court sentences
Liechtenstein tax evader

German judges have imposed a
two-year suspended prison sentence on Elmar Schulte, a 66-year-old
real estate developer, in the first case brought to court arising
out of the Liechtenstein tax evasion scandal.

The court in Bochum found Schulte, a resident
of Bad Homburg, guilty of six counts of tax evasion after
depositing several million euros in a Liechtenstein bank account.
He made a confession and has already paid €7.6 million ($11.7
million) in back taxes and fines to the German tax authorities.

Germany’s BND foreign intelligence service
disclosed earlier this year that it bought data on trusts managed
by LGT, Liechtenstein’s biggest bank, on behalf of wealthy
Europeans. Since then, German prosecutors have recovered €110
million in arrears from taxpayers hoping to avoid trials, according
to prosecutors.