J Safra Sarasin, the Basel, Switzerland-based private banking group, said it has agreed to acquire Credit Suisse’s private banking businesses in Monaco and Gibraltar, for an undisclosed amount.
In a statement on Tuesday, Safra Sarasin described the two entities as “an excellent strategic fit with the J Safra Sarasin Group”.
When the deal is completed, which is expected later this year, the newly-combined J Safra Sarasin entity in Monaco will rank among that principality’s largest banks, Safra Sarasin said.
J Safra Sarasin has been has been operating in Gibraltar since 2001, and in Monaco since 2006. Credit Suisse had been active in Gibraltar since 1987, and in Monaco for more than 40 years, according to the statement.
The Safra Sarasin announcement was the latest in an ongoing series of similar announcements, as large multi-national banks are selling off their least-profitable and least core assets, following decades of expansion. The trend has taken a toll on some smaller offshore jurisdictions, as it has tended to reduce the services on offer.
Last year, in fact, the Gibraltar government opened its own lending institution, the Gibraltar International Bank, in order to fill what it said was a need in the marketplace that had resulted from the departure of a number of key existing banking institutions from the jurisdiction.
The Gibraltar government-backed bank was also envisioned as offering depositary services to Gibraltar’s funds industry – in order, the Gibraltar Government said, in announcing its plans to launch the bank in 2013 – to ensure that the sector’s Gibraltar-based entities would be “able to meet the requirements of the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive”.
Credit Suisse chief executiveTidjane Thiam had hinted that the Credit Suisse branch might be closed as part of a cost-cutting operation last October, according to a Gibraltar television report at that time, which noted that Thiam had said he was looking to “streamline” the bank’s operations in Western Europe.
The J Safra Sarasin Group has more than 25 offices across Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.