WHEN Julius Baer set up a private bank in Switzerland in the 1890s, modern skiing had just emerged and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would speed down the Alps in a tweed suit.
Now, 120 years on, the Baer family has severed its link with the management of the bank. Raymond Baer has quit as chairman after nine years and will take up an honorary role in April. He will head a committee formed to deal with a US tax investigation. The 52 year old will oversee co-operation with the US Department of Justice, which is looking into the affairs of 11 banks, also including Credit Suisse.
Baer will “continue to support the bank in finding constructive solutions for the past chapters affecting Julius Baer and the banking industry at large,” the bank said. It insisted his move was not related to his role on the committee, which will also deal with other legacy tax issues in Europe.
In February Julius Baer said it expected to have to hand over client data and pay a fine as part of the probe into wealthy Americans who put cash in Swiss banks to avoid paying taxes.
The Baer family’s stake is now under three per cent. Daniel Sauter, a veteran of Glencore and Xstrata, is set to become chairman.