Swiss asset manager Vontobel has agreed to sell its capital markets business to Zürcher Kantonalbank (ZKB) as it focuses on becoming a buy-side investment manager.

Deal highlights

Under the deal, whose financial terms were not disclosed, ZKB will buy the equity brokerage operations of Vontobel.

ZKB will absorb Bank Vontobel Europe staff in London as part of the takeover. Deal closure is anticipated in the final quarter of next year.

The latest transaction forms part of broader operational changes at Vontobel. Under the plan, investment and advisory competencies will be integrated within centers of excellence.

The ZKB deal comes shortly after the sale of the firm’s alternative fund solutions division to Progressive Capital Partners.

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Firm targets UHNWIs

Under Vontobel’s new plan, Wealth Management will sharpen focus on UHNWIs. Georg Schubiger will be in charge of the business.

Led by Axel Schwarzer, Asset Management will retain its focus on institutional clients including pension funds and sovereign wealth funds, among others.

Roger Studer gives up operational role

As part of the operational realignment, the head of investment banking Roger Studer will take on non-operational responsibilities in 2020.

Studer has been serving as the investment banking head for 12 years.

He will join the supervisory board of Munich-based Bank Vontobel Europe and continue as vice president of the European Structured Investment Products Association.

Other management changes

Additionally, general counsel Enrico Friz will sit on the executive board from next January.

Meanwhile, effective next year, Markus Pfister will assume the management of the structured products arm.

Vontobel CEO Zeno Staub said: “Vontobel’s evolution into a client-centric investment manager that harnesses the power of technology to deliver first-class, customised client solutions is the logical next step based on our value proposition for clients.

“With our commitment to become a pure-play buy-side investment firm, we are positioning ourselves exclusively on the side of our investment clients. Our new organisational set-up, which is aligned with client needs and Vontobel’s areas of expertise, will further enhance our investment quality and therefore also our ability to generate organic growth.

“This growth will not only be driven by our client focus and performance; by addressing new client groups and establishing new sales channels, we will also gain new growth potential.”