Julius Baer to snap up Merrill Lynch global wealth business

Marion Dakers
SWISS bank Julius Baer is this week expected to announce a deal to buy Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch international wealth management business.

Julius Baer, which first revealed its interest in the unit in June, is set to pay as much as $2bn (£1.27bn) to acquire its non-US operations.

Merrill Lynch Wealth Management has more than 15,000 financial advisers helping clients with assets of $250,000 or more, but does not reveal how many of its staff are based outside of the US.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch put the unit up for sale in April, part of its efforts to cut costs and sell businesses as it shores up its capital base.

For the bank, the unit’s $90bn in client funds was not thought to be large enough to generate sufficient income.

For Julius Baer, however, the deal would boost its client assets by a whopping 50 per cent. The private bank reported assets under management of SFr179bn (£116.8bn) alongside its half-year results last month.

Like many Swiss banks, Julius Baer is keen to replace income lost in the wake of an international backlash against Swiss banking secrecy laws.

It has beaten rival bidders including Credit Suisse and Royal Bank of Canada to clinch the Merrill Lynch assets.