Sarasin net profit rises 6% on new client money

Private bank Sarasin set ambitious new targets for assets under management after booking a six per cent rise in full-year profit as it attracted new client money from embattled rival Swiss wealth managers.

Basel-based Sarasin, controlled by Dutch Rabobank, said yesterday it attracted SwF12.5 billion ($11.6bn; Dh42.4bn) of net new money as it improved the quality of its client relationship team, enabling it to increase adjusted 2009 net profit to SwF121.7m.

Credit Suisse, as well as smaller Swiss private banks and regional banks were last year able to mop up client money leaking from UBS which was hit hard by legal and reputational problems.

The Swiss banking industry has come under pressure globally, including a tax amnesty in Italy and a high-profile US tax case against UBS that prompted the government to relax its treasured bank secrecy laws last year.

Sarasin's assets under management rose 34 per cent to SwF93.7bn on increases in the value of investments and the new money from clients attracted by Rabobank's treasured 'AAA' credit rating – normally reserved for stable western governments – and Sarasin's own capital strength. The bank said a target of SwF100bn assets under management was achievable in 2010. "Sarasin was able to deliver pleasing key numbers despite the Italian tax amnesty and the intensifying witch hunt against the Swiss banking industry," said analysts at bank Wegelin.

Sarasin, which has said repeatedly it is on the lookout for acquisitions, said it would now target SwF150bn assets under management by 2015, with growth focused on Europe, the Middle East and Asia. "Our main focus in 2010 is not to accelerate the pace of growth, but to achieve a sustainable improvement in profitability," said CEO Joachim Straehle.

 

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