The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (Finma) has lifted Julius Baer’s acquisition ban.
The financial watchdog banned the private bank from making acquisitions in February 2020 after it found the firm had fell “significantly short” in combating money laundering in its Latin America operation between 2009 and 2018.
The failures related to alleged cases of corruption linked to a state-owned oil firm, Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), and world football organisation Fifa, which resulted in enforcement proceedings by Finma.
The decision is based on a status report from Finma’s mandated auditor, which is supervising the implementation of the measures ordered by the Swiss regulator.
Julius Baer said in a statement: “Finma will continue to closely accompany Julius Baer until the full implementation of these measures through the mandated auditor and additional supervisory measures.
“Julius Baer welcomes the lifting of the ban on complex acquisitions given the significant progress the bank has made in strengthening its company-wide risk management, particularly with regard to money laundering prevention.”
‘Open’ to deals
The Swiss private banking group has plans to bolster its offering via acquisitions.
Phillipp Rickenbacher, Julius Baer chief executive, told German-language Swiss financial publication themarket on 3 November: “Acquisitions have been one of our strengths in the past.
“They have made us the global bank that we are today, and acquisitions will continue to play a role in the future. We are open to big, transformational acquisitions.”