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Swiss Regulator Blesses Brazilian Firm's Purchase Of Controlling Stake In Swiss Bank

Tom Burroughes, Group Editor, 25 June 2012

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FINMA, the Swiss financial regulatory body, has approved Brazil-based Safra Group’s acquisition of Rabobank’s majority interest in Switzerland’s Bank Sarasin.

The transaction, originally reported last year, is expected to close by the end of July 2012, pending remaining approvals by some international regulatory bodies, Sarasin said in a statement.

“The Safra Group expects the new board of directors of Bank Sarasin & Co to be composed of Mrs Dagmar Woehrl, Messrs Pierre-Alain Bracher, Philippe Dupont, Hans-Rudolf Hufschmid, Sergio Penchas, Jacob Safra, Sipko Schat and Marcelo Szerman,” the bank said.

Christoph Ammann, chairman, and Peter Derendinger, board member, will resign from Bank Sarasin’s board when Safra’s purchase of Rabobank’s stake in the Swiss bank has gone through. Ammann and Derendinger, the independent members of the board, are expected to step down next month when the deal is predicted to be completed.

Last November it emerged that Safra Group had agreed to buy a majority stake in Sarasin & Co from Rabobank, after market speculation that fellow Swiss bank Julius Baer was poised to acquire the firm.

“For Sarasin, Safra will be a strongly capitalized majority shareholder that will be able to reinforce Sarasin’s established position as an independent Swiss private bank and effectively support and strengthen Sarasin’s strategy and business model under the existing well-recognized brand and management team,” according to a statement released at the time of the deal.

“Sarasin and Safra complement one another strategically in terms of their geographic markets. Both are also highly regarded for their reputation in private banking worldwide, as well as their sustainable and conservative approach to their client’s assets,” the statement said.

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