Julius Baer bank hit by crackdown on tax havens

SWISS private banking group Julius Baer has been hit by the Europe-wide crackdown on tax havens and secret banking.<br /><br />The Zurich-based bank said the inflow of money from rich clients had slowed since mid-year due to the tax crusade by other nations.<br /><br />Switzerland has relaxed some of its secrecy to comply with international rules, leading some of Julius Baer&rsquo;s clients to relocate funds.<br /><br />Total funds under management rose 22 per cent to 234bn Swiss francs (&pound;139bn) in the third quarter.<br /><br />Baer, which split its core private bank and asset management operations into two separately listed companies last month, said it was seeking more acquisitions following its purchase of ING&rsquo;s Swiss private banking assets. Baer, which has an estimated war chest of $500m (&pound;299m) could tap the market for more to fulfil its ambitions to expand internationally.<br /><br />Switzerland has faced a barrage of attacks over its tax- haven status, prompting the country to relax its cherished bank secrecy to comply with international rules.<br /><br />Germany, France, Italy and the US have all launched action over their citizens stashing savings in secretive Swiss accounts. The regulatory environment in some European countries was leading to some clients relocating assets, Julius Baer said.