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UBS targets "super-rich" in German deal

If you can afford this necklace and live in Germany, UBS might like to meet you... swissinfo.ch

Switzerland’s leading bank, UBS, has announced a merger deal in Germany that will create the country’s leading financial advisory service for the ultra-rich.

This content was published on November 30, 2004 - 11:32

A statement issued by UBS on Tuesday said the merger would involve its German wealth management arm and Germany’s Sauerborn Trust.

It said the deal, which would bring together both organisations’ advisory activities for their most wealthy clients, would be completed within the next few weeks.

UBS, the world’s seventh-largest bank, said it would not publish financial details of the deal, which is still subject to regulatory approval.

Jürg Zeltner, chairman of the management board of UBS in Germany, said: “I am delighted that UBS is teaming up with the recognised leader in the family office field in Germany.

“In future, we will be setting new benchmarks together for discerning, ultra-high net worth clients. This move enables UBS to substantially enlarge its penetration of this client segment in Germany and thereby accelerate its growth.”

Zeltner added that clients of the new unit would benefit from an “integrated product offering that provides access to family office services, institutional asset management and investment banking”.

“This kind of focus on client needs is currently unique in the German market.”

Asset management

Bad Homburg-based Sauerborn Trust has 90 employees and manages the assets of about 100 families and private companies, worth a total of more than €6 billion as of end October.

UBS Wealth Management has about 800 employees in Germany and manages invested assets there of more than €10 billion (SFr 15.1 billion).

UBS Wealth Management & Business Banking (WM&BB) is the largest of four UBS divisions, and its declared goal is to become the world’s leading asset management company.

Divisional CEO Marcel Rohner told a media conference in Zurich last week that the primary strategy of WM&BB – as of UBS generally – was internal growth.

However, he said UBS also intended to build up its European wealth management business through a series of smaller “bolt-on” acquisitions.

Rohner identified Germany – where the banking sector remains fragmented – as a key potential growth market.

swissinfo, Chris Lewis

Key facts

Wealth Management and Private Banking is the largest of four UBS divisions, accounting for nearly 60% of total pre-tax profit in 2003.
Its Swiss-based business manages assets worth over SFr350 billion – producing more than half the division’s profits.
Wealth Management Germany manages assets worth over €10 billion (SFr1.51 billion).

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In brief

UBS has announced a concrete step towards its long-term goal of dominating the wealth management market.

The planned merger, involving its German “family office” activities with those of Sauerborn Trust, would create a new German market leader.

UBS says it will not disclose the financial terms of the deal.

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