Falcon Private Bank to buy Clariden Leu

Published: October 4, 2012

Swiss private bank strikes deal with Credit Suisse to expand emerging markets focus.

Falcon Private Bank, a Swiss wealth management firm, has agreed to acquire Clariden Leu (Europe), a London-based asset manager active in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, from Credit Suisse.

Speaking to EMEA Finance shortly after the transaction was announced, Eduardo Leemann, Falcon’s CEO, said the deal is a sizeable step for his business – the target has about CHF2bn (US$2.1bn) in assets under management, compared to Falcon’s CHF12bn. Furthermore, it boosts the bank’s scale far quicker than could have been achieved outside of dealmaking.

“Growing organically is maybe not as expensive as an acquisition but it takes a long time, so we were looking for targets,” Leemann says. “We knew there were a lot out there, although not that many with a clientele covering the geographic areas that fit exactly with our strategy.”

Falcon’s focus on emerging markets, and particularly clientele in Asia, the Middle East and Russia, means a London presence was sorely missing from the bank’s business. Here again, this latest deal ticks the right box.

“Our geographical locations – Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Zurich, Geneva and now London – make a perfect axis,” Leemann says. “London has always been an asset management driven hub and we’re going to profit from that.”

The CEO adds that other deals could be made if the right target becomes available: “If we find something that complements our products and client segment in these markets, we’re absolutely open to another acquisition. I’d love to acquire something in Asia, it’s just that there’s nothing in Asia to buy. But we keep looking.”

UBS acted as financial adviser to Falcon on the deal, which is expected to close during the first quarter of 2013.

Falcon is owned by Abu Dhabi’s Aabar Investments.