Vontobel has signed an agreement with UBS to buy its subsidiary UBS Swiss Financial Advisers (SFA), based in Zurich. In a press release, the firm has announced that with this acquisition, it expects to further strengthen its platform providing clients with a global investment approach and geographic diversification.
Vontobel will combine SFA and VSWA (Vontobel Swiss Wealth Advisors), its existing business serving North American Wealth Management clients. Preparations for this will start after the closing of the transaction, which is expected for the third quarter of 2022.
“This transaction is reflective of our confidence in the US market and our ongoing strategic growth efforts in the region. This is a major step toward making Vontobel a global name that serves sophisticated clients around the world and builds toward our goal of increasing US client revenue and overall assets under management”, said Georg Schubiger, Global Head Wealth Management Vontobel and Chairman VSWA.
Together with SFA’s CHF 7.2 billion (7.82 billion dollars) in assets under management as of September 30, 2021, Vontobel, through its SEC licensed entities, is expected to become the largest Swiss-domiciled wealth manager for US clients seeking an account in Switzerland for diversification purposes. The combined pro forma assets under management will more than double to over CHF 10 billion (10.8 billion dollars).
Following the transaction, UBS will continue to refer its clients to SFA, an SEC-registered investment advisor and FINMA-licensed securities firm, which offers US clients tailored investment solutions in a Swiss-based environment.
Tom Naratil, Co-President UBS Global Wealth Management and President UBS Americas, claimed to be “pleased” to partner with Vontobel, “a leading global investment firm that’s client focused and committed to excellence”. In his view, this acquisition not only ensures UBS’s US clients continue to have access to a Swiss-based money management firm, but it also simplifies their business structure and enables them to focus on core activities with scale in line with their “strategic priorities.”
Vontobel has long been present in the US as an asset manager, and for over a decade has been growing its wealth management business with teams in New York, Geneva and Zurich. In 2019, Vontobel acquired Lombard Odier’s US-based client portfolio and plans to open a new office in Miami.
The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals, will be fully funded with cash from Vontobel’s balance sheet, covered by its robust CET1 and Tier 1 capital ratios. Additional financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.