Julius Baer in early stage talks about Merrill Lynch Wealth Management

Swiss bank Julius Baer Group has revealed it is in discussions with Bank of America Corp concerning Merrill Lynch’s international wealth management business outside the United States.

Julius Baer said the outcome of its discussions are “entirely open” as the discussions are only at early stages.

However, a deal would broaden the bank’s global footprint, in a further sign of Swiss banks expanding beyond their domestic market, as tax deals with foreign authorities reduce Switzerland’s competitive advantage, and the regulation of the asset management industry is undergoing seismic change.

Julius Baer already has over 3600 staff in more than 20 countries stretching from Europe to Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai to Montevideo. It looks after CHF268bn of client assets. Its presence in Asia is mirrored by various Swiss rivals, including EFG Private Bank and Reyl & Cie, to name just two.

Julius Baer would add to its assets, and staff, significantly in any deal.

MLWM employs more than 17,500 financial advisors and has over $1.8trn in client money worldwide – though this includes significant sums and employees from its US business, which is excluded from Julius Baer’s discussions.

MLWM concentrates mainly on clients with net worth exceeding $1m.

A spokeswoman for MLWM declined to comment on the discussions.



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