ZURICH, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Swiss private bank Julius Baer could afford another deal of around 60 billion Swiss francs ($65 billion) in assets it is taking on with its purchase of Merrill Lynch’s overseas wealth arm, after it cuts franc spending, its chief executive said.
“Over time, there may be one or the other Merrill-type of larger internationally diversified assets where the majority of the business and the costs are outside of the Swiss franc,” Chief Executive Boris Collardi said.
Julius Baer bought Merrill Lynch’s overseas wealth arm in August 2012.
Collardi said Zurich-based Baer’s immediate priority is to slash Swiss franc-denominated spending after Switzerland’s central bank scrapped a currency cap against the euro and sent the franc surging.
But Collardi, a prolific dealmaker, also makes clear that the strong Swiss franc will throw up tempting opportunities, first in the form of smaller Swiss private banks where Baer can acquire advisors, and, as a result, add assets easily. Later, more large deals may be on the cards.
$1 = 0.9246 Swiss francs Reporting By Katharina Bart and Oliver Hirt; editing by Susan Thomas