J. Safra Sarasin Grows Presence in Asia

The Swiss-Brazilian private bank has acquired Bank of Montreal’s (BMO) private banking business in Hong Kong and Singapore. 

J. Safra Sarasin made the acquisition through an asset purchase agreement for an unspecified sum. The deal includes BMO’s clients and its relationship management teams, the bank announced on Tuesday in a statement.

«This transaction underscores the importance of the Asian market for the Group. We are delighted and believe that BMO’s private banking business in Asia will fit extremely well with our strategy,» Jacob J. Safra, chairman of J. Safra Sarasin, said about the deal.

According to the firm, BMO’s «well-diversified and attractive» client base of ultra-high-net-worth individuals fits well with the group’s existing private banking business and its offering in investments, trading, credit and wealth planning.

Raft of Changes

J. Safra Sarasin has been a hotbed of change since 2019. Juerg Haller, a 35-year veteran of UBS, took over in the fall of 2019. Four weeks later, J. Safra Sarasin named Daniel Belfer, a 45-year-old Brazilian banker, as its new CEO. The bank’s 82-year-old family patriarch Joseph Safra passed in December 2020.

The firm’s regional operations are led by Andy Chai, who joined from BNP Wealth Management as Asia CEO in February

Its assets under management stood at 185.8 billion Swiss francs ($190.4 billion) as of end-2019, according to the firm, with AUM in Asia accounting for 20.1 billion francs ($20.6 billion).



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