Julius Baer kickstarts wave of wealth management M&A in 2022
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Julius Baer kickstarts wave of wealth management M&A in 2022

The Swiss firm’s decision to sell specialist Zurich-based wealth manager Wergen & Partner is the latest in a series of M&A deals. Expect more activity as private banks expand into new markets, or exit non-core markets to focus resources and invest in technology.

The announcement by Julius Baer on Monday, January 3, that it will sell Wergen & Partner Wealth Management for an undisclosed sum to its management, will have made M&A bankers in Europe and beyond prick up their ears.

Wergen was only bought in February 2017 by the Swiss private banking firm, which said it decided that after carrying out a strategic review, Wergen would “develop best under its existing and future management” team led by founder and chief executive Manfred Wergen.

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Manfred Wergen, Wergen & Partner Wealth Management

The two are vastly different animals. Both are headquartered in Zurich, but Julius Baer is a global outfit with SFr484 billion ($527 billion) in assets under management at the end of October 2021, while Wergen & Partner has just six employees, and oversees SFr1.2 billion in AuM. Julius Baer says the transaction is due to close in the first quarter of 2022.

Wergen is a minnow by industry standards, but it’s an attractive asset, and the surprise is that it wasn’t targeted by larger boutique private banks.

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